Linguine alla carbonara con asparagi e prosciutto crudo
This is a quick, simple dish that’s a perfect way to take advantage of fresh seasonal asparagus. It also includes prosciutto crudo and as there are countless recipes that combine asparagus with prosciutto, a word of advice is in order.
We don’t believe that delicate Italian prosciutto crudo should be cooked because the whole point of the curing process is to eat it as it is, and it seems to us that when it’s cooked it tends to become a little tough and salty, ruined basically. If you're going to cook it you may as well use ham rather than prosciutto crudo and perhaps that's why some English language recipes got confused; because in Italy the word prosciutto is used for both cooked ham and cured ham and to distinguish between the two you simply add cotto or crudo after prosciutto.
Anyhow, whether that’s the case or not doesn’t really matter here because for this dish the prosciutto is clearly crudo and it is not cooked, merely warmed.
Ingredients for 2 people:
280 grams ( 10 oz ) linguine
250 grams ( 11 oz ) net weight of trimmed asparagus
45 grams ( 1.5 oz ) freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
50 grams ( 2 oz ) Italian prosciutto crudo (from Parma or San Daniele) cut into strips
2 egg yolks
small handful chopped fresh chives
2 cloves garlic
extra virgin Italian olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Generously oil a large enough pan to be used to mix in the pasta later, add the two garlic cloves either peeled or in camicia and let them color only a little on medium heat before discarding them.
2. Cut off the asparagus tips and set aside for later. Break off and discard the thick woody ends and chop the spears into 1 inch diagonal pieces. Add to the pan, season well with salt and pepper and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes.
3. Put the linguine into salted water on a rolling boil.
4. Whisk the egg yolks with three quarters of the grated parmigiano and several spoonfuls of the pasta cooking water. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Add the asparagus tips to the pan towards the end to cook for the last two minutes. A little crunch or firmness when eating the tips is ideal.
6. When the pasta is almost ready add the prosciutto to the pan with the asparagus, mix and turn the heat off.
7. Add the pasta to the pan, then the egg yolk/cheese mixture and the chives. Mix everything together well for 30 seconds until there's a silky emulsion coating the pasta, then sprinkle on the remaining parmigiano and serve.
8. Add a good slug of top quality Italian olive oil to the plated servings to bring out all the flavors.