06 March 2009

Pasta con Rucola

Yes, I think I did get a little carried away with the rucola, but hey, green is good, no? Perhaps I was just in need of a good green fix. This time of year when the thrill of root vegetables and cabbage has faded slightly, there's nothing like vibrant green rucola to add some zippity do da to your lunch. I was a bit surprised the first time I was served this pasta. I had no idea that Italians were so fond of Rucola/arugula/rocket, or what ever you call it in your part of the world. It was a revelation to find it on pizza and then pasta, but I have adapted and found it to be one of my favorites. Why not put a little salad on the top of my pasta. This is a pretty simple recipe that lends itself to all sorts of additions. I had a small corner of prosciutto crudo that I chopped up into batons and slightly sauteed, that made for a nice addition too. It's a good way to use up a few odds and ends in the refrigerator like cheese, or maybe sauteed zucchini and others that might be kicking around begging to be used.
The basic premise is to make a thin cheese sauce preferably with cheese that has some character to it, toss in your favorite pasta after you've cooked it and top it all off with fresh rucola. Garnish the dish with a drizzle of fruity olive oil a pinch of salt and pepper and you have a one plate wonder for lunch or a light supper. Balsamic vinegar is optional for a more salad like appeal. The zesty fresh greens balance well with the pasta, cutting through the cheese for an nice contrast of fresh with cooked and cheesy with a slight bite. Try it if you haven't already, I think you'll like it.
I'm sending this over to Maryann of Finding La Dolce Vita and Marie of Proud Italian Cook for their second Festa Italiana 2009. Head on over and have a nosey round their table for this years edition. You'll find a link to last years event also. Lots of great recipes, ideas and blogs to discover.

Pasta con Rucola
Serves 4
  • 400 g (14oz) dried pasta, penne mezze or whatever suits you
  • Rucola, 4 handfuls, more or less
  • olive oil
  • Parmigiano 50 g approximately some for the sauce some for garnish on top
  • 50g (1.5 oz)prosciutto crudo or spek, cut into batons, and slightly sauteed, optional, or sauteed zucchini instead or not at all
Besciamella Sauce
  • 50 g (2 oz) butter (I use olive oil instead)
  • 1 Tb flour
  • 220 ml (8 oz) Milk
  • 200 g (8 0z)cheese, shredded Toma (cheddar, provolone or what ever suits you)
  • nutmeg, a few fresh grates or 1/4 tsp or less of dried
Make your besciamella sauce by melting your butter in a sauce pan.
Sprinkle your flour on top, whisk till smooth and cook till bubbly.
Whisk in the milk and let simmer til it thickens slightly.
Add shredded cheese. You might want to add some parmigiano also
Add your nutmeg.
Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
Cook until the cheese is melted over a low heat. Set aside.

Saute prosciutto crudo if desired.

Cook pasta in salted water till al dente.

Toss the pasta together with the cheese sauce and prosciutto.
Serve in individual plates.
Garnish with a handful of rucola on top.
Sprinkle with grated Parmigiano
A pinch of salt and pepper
Drizzle with olive oil and eat while warm.


Anonymous said...

You can never have too much rucola!
Thanks for joining us at the festa, Marla :)
maryann xox

Proud Italian Cook said...

I love the flavor of rucola Marla, this is such a great idea to top it with pasta! Can't wait to try it out at our festa! Thanks so much for joining us!
xox, Marie

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I think you will find me hovering at the buffet table. Save a glass of Italian wine for me:D

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Love Rocket and pasta....oh yes with a glass of wine :-)

Bella Baita Marla said...

I'll bring some Barbera and Dolcetto. I will be the other one hovering by the buffet table as well!Cheers to you all and pass the bottle of wine.

Anonymous said...

You didn't get carried away with the rocket for me! Then, as you say, it's that time of year when our palates are yearning for spring. (I always make beschamel with olive oil too.)

a woman who is said...

I started looking at the new posts added to the festa already hungry. I am getting up right now to fix this for dinner. This is my kind of comfort food. Three of my favorite foods on the planet...pasta, cheese, and salad. I have a lettuce mix in the fridge with rocket added. So that will have to do for now.

Thanks for sharing!

Claudia said...

Looks gorgeous! And simple and very, very tasty. I am ready to move out of the "root vegetable" mode.

a woman who is said...

I had to come back and tell you I made your dish Sat. night for supper and even invited friends over. I was truly inspired. We all loved it and ate too much. Next time we all agreed I will use just straight rocket with the dish. I also went a little crazy and added two other cheeses and sprinkled some Italian seasoned bread crumbs on top.

Bella Baita Marla said...

Thank you so much a woman who is for letting me know you enjoyed it. It made my day. Thanks also Claudia for stopping by. Here's to spring vegetables!

Bella Baita Marla said...

Why thank you Dazy, but I'm sure yours will be lip smackingly good.

Bella Baita Marla said...

Thank you Adi, stop by any time.

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