Monday, October 11, 2004

Just because it is 10 a.m.

I'm doing a little experiment here. One of my high school English teachers told me on numerous occasions that I had a negative attitude. Some 12 years hence, I see she was right. In an effort to moderate my fury, I will write at least one "up beat" post a week.

So, to continue: Just because it is 10 a.m. does not mean it is too early for lunch, and the question for someone working at home is, how can I have a lunch that is pretty good for me, tasty, and not a highly processed convenience food?

As a person *not* working at home, I often relied on Hot Pockets and the like. I know, however, that they are loaded with trans fats, artificial foods, and such, so with time on my hands, I want to change my habits.

Here are my requirements:
1. It must be fairly quick. Yes, I work at home, but I am not a full-time chef.
2. It must taste good.
3. It must be reasonably nutritious.
4. It must provide the balance of calories I need. I know that many people are adopting low-carb lifestyles these days, but as a competitive swimmer, such a diet makes little sense for me.
5. It must not require a separate trip to the grocery store.

What I came up with today is Penne with asparagus and prosciutto.

Nota bene, fair reader: when I look for foods to be good for me, I well know that prosciutto di parma, as a highly processed, salty ham is not at the top of most nutritionists' lists. But listen: it is one of the foods I make exceptions for.

To continue:

1.5 cups penne
2 slices of prosciutto, sliced the short way in 1/2-inch strips
5 asparagus stalks (or more! I couldn't take more this time because the asparagus is for tomorrow night's dinner)
a good-sized clove of garlic, chopped fairly fine
3/4 c parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated on a microplane (you could easily substitute pecorino romano or piave (mmmmm) here)
some olive oil (approx. 1 T or one turn around your pan)

1. Cook the pasta in your usual way.
2. Prepare the asparagus by washing it, tweaking off the bottom inch or two of each stalk, and then slicing the stalks into 1.5-inch-or-so pieces.
3. In a non-stick pan, heat the olive oil. Add the prosciutto and stir around for a couple of minutes. Then add the asparagus and the garlic, stirring regularly to keep the garlic from burning. This part is done when your prosciutto looks a little crispy and your asparagus has turned that brilliant green color that it takes on when it is just barely cooked.
4. After the pasta has cooked, drain it, and add it to the pan with the prosciutto mixture. Stir around to mix the pasta in.
5. Add the cheese, about 1/2 at a time, and blend it in to the pasta mixture, allowing the little flakes to adhere to the now somewhat oily pasta.
6. Serve and eat immediately.

I like it with a glass of fizzy water, but suit yourself. Serves 1.

1 comment:

bkmarcus said...

And here I had just decided that I needed to add the prosciutto last to keep it from crisping up and drying out.

Maybe I'd prefer the crispy kind if I cut it thinner.

I continue to be amused by the kinds of things you just happen to have sitting around the kitchen. Although I'm starting to immitate your sense of staples.