My girls are fairly decent vegetable eaters. Emily will try more than Avery, but that’s the case with every food, not just veggies. Asparagus, though, is one vegetable that they consistently turn their noses up at. Since I’m a big ol’ meanie, I make different asparagus dishes every year, knowing that at some point, they’ll come to the dark (green) side.
This pasta dish helped…a bit. The smoky, melty cheese and salty prosciutto added so much flavor to the dish, that they didn’t seem bothered by the asparagus. In fact, Emily even ate some of it! (One out of two ain’t bad, right?)
Picky kids aside, this is a wonderful, quick and easy dinner. Even if an adult in your house doesn’t like asparagus, it’s certainly easy enough to pick around. The adults in this house love asparagus, so we were happy all around.
I started by prepping my asparagus. I brought a large pot of water to a boil for my pasta, but before the spaghetti went in, I let the asparagus cook for just a couple of minutes, until it was tender but still crisp.
Once the asparagus was cooked, I pulled it out of the pot with tongs and moved it into a bowl of ice water, to stop the cooking process. I didn’t want mushy asparagus on my hands!
I got the spaghetti into the pot and as it was cooking, worked on the rest of the dish.
It only took a few minutes for the asparagus to cool, and when it was, I removed the spears from the ice water, patted them dry and cut the stalks into 1-inch pieces. The asparagus got to sizzle in a skillet for just a bit with some garlic and olive oil.
By this time, the spaghetti was done, so I drained it (but held on to a cup of the pasta water) and put it in the pan with the asparagus. I tossed that together and added a bit of the pasta water to loosen it up a little.
Then, I added some cubed smoked Mozzarella cheese, pieces of prosciutto that I’d sliced up, and some fresh basil.
I carefully tossed all of that together, and let it hang out in the pan just a minute, so that cheese would start to melt and everything was heated through.
Then, we were ready to eat!
It was a delicious way to end the day, and everyone in the family enjoyed it, or at least, bits and pieces of it. The smoked Mozzarella really adds amazing flavor to the dish, and is so perfectly chewy and melty. The dish doesn’t call for many ingredients, but the few it does have manage to create something really special! Some of us enjoyed the green part more than others, but we’re making progress!
SPAGHETTI WITH ASPARAGUS, SMOKED MOZZARELLA AND PROSCIUTTO
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
- 1-2 pounds asparagus, depending on how much you like it, trimmed
- 3/4 pound spaghetti
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and pepper
- 6 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, cut crosswise into strips
- 6 oz. smoked mozzarella cheese, diced (about 1 cup)
- 6 Tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt. Cook the asparagus the trimmed asparagus in the water until crisp tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. With tongs or a large slotted spoon, remove the asparagus from the water to a bowl of ice water to cool and stop the cooking process. When the asparagus is cool, remove it from the ice water, pat dry, and cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.
- Return the water in the pot to a boil, adding additional water, if necessary. Add the spaghetti and cook until the pasta is al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and saute until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the asparagus to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss the asparagus with the garlic. Add the pasta, and if needed, some of the reserved cooking liquid to loosen up the mixture. Toss to coat.
- Add the prosciutto, mozzarella, and basil, and toss to combine. Turn off the heat and let the dish hang out in the pan for a minute or so, to warm everything through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.