In 30 quick minutes sit down to a comfort meal of Rigatoni with Escarole, White Beans and Prosciutto.
This is it, December, the 12th month of the year, the end is approaching and so are holiday festivities. This month can be a busy time between work, family and personal commitments and I think it’s totally easily to pass up your normal routine. After all the temptation of cookies, candy and secret family recipes are only a fingertip away this time of year. I ran off my own track easily enough just the last few weeks between getting sick, Thanksgiving and family affairs.
However just because the calendar is packed it doesn’t give an excuse to skip out on family dinners. I know I’m happier with a home cooked meal, even after a long exhausting day and I’m going to take bets that you are too. We’re not looking for fussy fancy meals here either, just simple, rustic food that warms your belly and comforts your soul. The perfect meal that relaxes you after a long day and can get tossed together in 30 quick minutes.
Inspiration for this pasta dish of rigatoni with braised escarole, white beans and prosciutto came together after meeting with Lou Di Palo from the renowned and family owned Di Palo’s Fine Foods Store in Little Italy Manhattan. I had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with Lou thanks to Prosciutto di Parma.
We discussed everything you could possibly imagine about Prosicutto di Parma and I’d love to share some of the fun facts I learned along the way with you today! Prosciutto di Parma is 100% natural, it’s comprised simply of pork – from specially bred and humanely raised pigs in which they use only the hind legs, sea salt, air and time. There are never any chemicals, colors, or preservatives used during the process.
Speaking of the process, it is traditionally begun in December during the colder climates in Italy as the salting needs to begin in a cold environment. After initial salting the hams are held in a climate controlled room for 70 days for absorption to make sure the salt is properly absorbed into the meat, from there the meat is washed and hung in drying rooms. After that it’s time to age the meat. In general most hams are aged for about 1 year to 400 days. The longer it is aged the more intense the flavor.
What is this flavor? If you’ve tasted Prosciutto di Parma on a sandwich or in a charcuterie board you are probably familiar with the buttery, sweet delicate texture. However next time you have a slice really take in the aroma of the Prosciutto, it will transport you to the country breeze of the province of Parma. Sounds a little silly? Maybe but making Prosciutto di Parma is a work of art, that’s crafted by hand and each ham is carefully inspected before receiving the seal of approval. If it lives up to expectations it receives the mark or I should say crown of Prosciutto di Parma.
How do you know what you’re eating is Prosciutto di Parma? Step one, look for the crown symbol! Every piece of Prosciutto di Parma is stamped with a crown, next ask your Italian butcher, they will tell you if they have Prosciutto di Parma and how long it has been aged. Lastly if you purchased pre-packaged Prosciutto di Parma make sure it has the crown on the packaging and it says it is imported from Italy.
Now! Back to eating! After my lengthy discussion about Prosciutto di Parma with Lou (and eating, there was eating too) I had to ask him how he liked to cooked with prosciutto. The obviously answer is to eat it straight up, as that generally is mine too but I do love adding it to dishes as well. He mentioned the classic Italian dish of braised escarole and white beans and this pasta was born.
It’s pure comfort food, loaded with nutrient rich escarole – which let’s be honest we can all use a nutrition boost this time of year! While the escarole braises in white wine in chicken stock, the pasta cooks away. This meal really can’t get any easier and I promise it’ll become a new staple in your meal rotation.
This post is sponsored on behalf of Prosciutto di Parma. As always all opinions are my own and thanks for supporting brands that I work with.