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Tony's Italiano Fettuccine with Red Sauce, Prosciutto, Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Peas


8 ounces of thin asparagus, trim the ends and cut into 1/2-inch lengths
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted Land-o-Lakes butter
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/4-inch strips
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced thin
1 cup frozen petite peas
1 cup whipping cream
16 really fresh and nicely ripe cherry tomatoes, cut in just halves (seeds are okay)
1 pound dry fettuccine pasta
1 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese (not the powder crap, folks!)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

Note: have a reserved pot of almost boiling water comes in to play, I swear.

Okay, so here's what I did:

Cook the asparagus in a large pot of boiling, somewhat sea-salted water (don't use table salt) until the sprigs are just crisp-tender, about 3 minutes, tops. Don't overcook them and make them soggy. Just a quick little boil and that's it.

Transfer the asparagus to a bowl with nice and cold tap water and a few ice cubes thrown in to turn off the cooking process, and set them aside. They will be added to the sauce just a few minutes later.

Melt the unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat, and just melt it. Don't cook it! Think warm, and not bubbling. Kind of important...

Add the fresh prosciutto a slice at a time and stir it around a bit for 1 minute. We're not cooking it, we're just adding some butter flavor and maybe just browning it. No cook! Think molten...

Add the mushrooms and saute until they are nice and golden, about 3 minutes. It is best when the shrooms are still firm, and not wet and cooked down.

Now, add your chilled asparagus that was waiting all chilled in the bowl, and the peas (yes, frozen is okay, because they thaw pretty quick in the sauce) and cream and simmer until the cream is reduced by maybe 1/3, only about 2 minutes on medium heat. Stir it briskly, and don't let the cream get too hot. In general, don't let the pan get too hot! This is just a simple reduction of the cream sauce going on here. Stir, stir, stir...only about 2 minutes. Don't reduce it too far...

Turn off the heat on the sauce and add in the cheery little cherry tomatoes (halved), and stir them in. These have to go in last, because they are ripe, and already full of flavor, and you don't want them to disappear into the sauce, see? Leave this little wonder by itself, no more heat now.

Pasta Time

Okay, bring your awesome pot of reserved hot water in the pot to a good rolling boil, and add the fettuccine pasta and cook until 'al dente' for about 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Just make sure the noodles don't stick together. A good hot boil will prevent that. Stop and drain those babies. Don't you dare rinse the fettuccine under water! That ruins the pasta, and all the starches go right down the drain. Just pour off the water completely, or use a collander and make sure just the noodles are there, still nice and wet, but not rinsed.

Pour the well-drained fettuccine (no water, all gone, just pasta) to your skillet with the silent and waiting wonder sauce and toss to coat all of the noodles over some nice, low heat.

Want some spice? Grind some fresh black peppercorns over it, and maybe add some crushed red pepper if you want some more zip.

Remove the mass of goodness from the heat, and grate some real Parmigiano-Reggiano on that plate of wonderful goodness.

Tell me this is not the best plate of pasta that you have EVER had? Huh? Yes!


I forgot to take a photo of it, and I'm sorry...




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