Better known as Straw and Hay, Paglia e Fieno is a pasta dish for the record books. The spinach pasta mixed in with the standard semolina white-colored pasta makes for a beautiful dish.
What makes this dish so delicious is the crunchy salty bite of the Prosciutto with the creaminess of the sauce. Let’s start with the Prosciutto.
I’m using Bavette-style pasta which is a different name for a style of Linguine.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 26 minutes
Total Time: 31 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: large deep-sided frying pan (rondeau), 1 (6-quart) saucepot, tongs
1/2 pound of linguine
1/2 pound of spinach linguine
4 slices of Proscuitto, julienned
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons of butter, unsalted
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
1 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 (8-ounce) container of Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups of Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated, extra for serving
1 cup of frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Start by rolling up the Prosciutto like a cigar, then slicing it into very thin strips or julienne. To a large cold sauté pan add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the sliced Proscuitto. Turn the heat to medium and start rendering the fat from the Prosciutto by allowing the sliced Proscuitto to cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until it becomes nice and crisp. Using a slotted spoon transfer to crispy Proscuitto to a plate lined with a paper towel, set aside.
In the sauté pan with the drippings from the Prosciutto melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the diced onion, diced, stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes, stir to combine, cook for 1 minute more. Next, add the heavy cream, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, stir to combine.
On the back burner, have a large pot of salted boiling water ready.
Reduce the heat to medium-low add the softened mascarpone cheese. Stir until the cheese melts. Continue to cook and stir until the sauce thickens for 3 to 5 minutes.
Drop the pasta and stir. Add the thawed peas to the sauce, stir the peas into the sauce. Turn the heat off, before adding the Italian flat-leaf parsley and freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, stir to combine.
In a large pot of boiling salted water drop the pasta. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Using a pair of tongs, transfer the pasta directly into the cream sauce. Gently stir the pasta through.
Ladle a good helping of pasta into a porcelain serving bowl. Top with a garnish of the crunchy Prosciutto and a sprinkling of Pecorino Romano. There you have it, my Paglia e Fieno, a traditional Italian pasta dish.