Ham and Beans Pasta, Prosciutto and Green Beans Salad

 


When I first saw the title of this recipe "Ham and Beans Pasta" I thought it was going to be a heavy dish, more suited for a cold winter day. I was delighted to see this is a simple pasta recipe that is an easy bbq side dish and a quick summer recipe. It's a wonderful way to take advantage of fresh green beans picked from your garden, or purchased from a local farm stand. The flavor the the toasted pine nuts really stand out. We include instructions on "how to toast pine nuts" below. This recipe was featured in The Baltimore Sun Taste section.






Ham & Beans Pasta

Ingredients:

8 ounces green beans, ends trimmed
1 pound penne pasta
4 slices prosciutto
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the green beans. Cook until just tender. Remove with a slotted spoon; keep warm. Add penne to the boiling water; cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, cook prosciutto slices in a large dry skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes; break into rough pieces.

3. Toss the drained pasta in a large bowl with the green beans, pine nuts and Parmesan; drizzle with olive oil. Divide pasta among six plates; top with prosciutto pieces.

How to toast pine nuts: Place the pine nuts in a dry heavy skillet making sure they are in a single layer and have room to move around. If not, cook in several batches. The following batches may cook more quickly as the pan will be hotter. Cook over medium heat, constantly moving them around the pan to prevent them burning. Allow some time for them to toast, you'll see them brown and smell them. DON'T WALK AWAY because once they start to toast it goes quickly. As soon as they are toasted you want to get them out of the hot pan - put them on a plate to cool.

Tips: Sub the prosciutto with diced baked ham, crisp bacon or slivers of country ham. Servings 6.

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