By Joe Gray, Tribune Newspapers
June 1, 2011
Beans and ham, they go together like country cousins. Pork and beans, as in bacon-spiked baked beans. Navy bean soup with nuggets of ham. And one of my favorites from my grandmother's kitchen: steamed green beans, fresh-picked from her farm's garden, studded with morsels of salty ham.
This dish plays with that dynamic duo, subbing pieces of crackly prosciutto — made so by rendering in a skillet — to pair with the plump green beans. Toasted pine nuts play their flavor off both green beans and the cured ham. Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil bring it all together.
A crisp white wine would be a refreshing companion. Try an Italian white, such as Soave or pinot bianco, or an unoaked California sauvignon blanc.
Tips: Sub the prosciutto with diced baked ham, crisp bacon or slivers of country ham.
Ham and beans pasta
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 13 minutes
8 ounces green beans, ends trimmed
1 pound penne pasta
4 slices prosciutto
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1. Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the green beans. Cook until just tender. Remove with a slotted spoon; keep warm. Add penne to the boiling water; cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, cook prosciutto slices in a large dry skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes; break into rough pieces.
3. Toss the drained pasta in a large bowl with the green beans, pine nuts and Parmesan; drizzle with olive oil. Divide pasta among six plates; top with prosciutto pieces.
Per serving: 458 calories, 32% of calories from fat, 16 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 9 mg cholesterol, 61 g carbohydrates, 17 g protein, 278 mg sodium, 5 g fiber.