Tagliatelle al Prosciutto

This is one of those dishes where the quality of the main ingredient makes all the difference. If you use really good prosciutto (Spanish jamon iberico will also do) that has been aged for at least two years and is sweet rather than salty, this dish will be amazing. If you use cheap prosciutto, it will end up being so salty it’s hardly edible.

Good prosciutto is expensive, but even good prosciutto comes in a natural shape and thus there are pieces of the ham that are less attractive to be sliced. For this recipe you will chop it anyway, so the shape does not matter. So become acquainted with your butcher and ask for a discounted ‘end’ piece of prosciutto that he can’t sell for the normal price anyway. I even got the piece of ‘pata negra’ jamon iberico for free when I bought some of the nice part for the full price.

This sauce is best over home-made fresh tagliatelle, but you could also use dried tagliatelle. However, it is important to use fresh tomatoes rather than canned, so the tomatoes won’t overpower the prosciutto.

Ingredients

For 2 servings

100 grams (4 oz) good quality prosciutto

1 celery stalk

1 medium carrot (100 grams or so)

1 onion (I used a red onion but a normal one will also do the trick)

750 grams (1 1/2 pounds) plum tomatoes

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 eggs

200 grams semolina flour

4 Tbsp freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

Preparation

Make pasta dough from the eggs and the semolina flour. While the pasta dough is resting, chop the prosciutto, the carrot, the onion and the celery. You can chop them fine or a bit chunckier according to your own taste.

Sauté the prosciutto, carrot, onion and celery in the olive oil over medium heat until the onions are soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, puree the tomatoes in your food processor and pass them through a food mill to remove the skin and seeds. (There is no need to remove the skin and seeds first, this is much easier and the tart juice that surrounds the seeds ends up in the sauce this way.)

Add the sieved tomatoes to the prosciutto and vegetables and season with freshly ground black pepper and just a pinch of salt. Let this simmer, uncovered, for half an hour or so.

Meanwhile, roll out the pasta dough and cut into tagliatelle.

The sauce is ready when it has a thick consistency and is not watery anymore. Cook the tagliatelle al dente in boiling salted water for just a few minutes. Drain and add to the sauce, together with half the parmigiano. Toss to mix.

Serve on preheated plates, sprinkled with the remaining parmigiano.

Wine pairing

Because of the fresh tomatoes this is good with sangiovese such as Sangiovese di Romagna or a Chianti.

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