When my GPS system successfully directs me to a destination, it says, “You have arrived.” I love it. Beyond the words, the way it says it is so special — as if I am a debutant being presented to society. It never fails to make me smile.
When I went away to college, I thought having arrived meant hosting awesome dinner parties and entertaining with charm and pizazz. I was so excited to have friends over and cook for them — although my cooking range was really limited. Among my go-to dishes? Sundried Tomato Pasta … from the Cooking with Friends Cookbook. Actually, it was my one and only specialty. Too bad not everyone loves sundried tomatoes like I do.
I don’t know that having great dinner parties mean you’ve truly arrived, but I have learned a thing or two since then — like how to plan a menu people love and that pasta cooking water is a genius addition to sauces.
Making this pasta is super simple. You start with a six quick and easy ingredients — most of which you probably already have. First thing, you start the water for the pasta. Once it’s boiling, toss in the pasta and let it cook while you prepare the sauce.
Sundried tomatoes — the dried kind, not the ones packed in oil — are sliced thinly. You’ll need a good, sharp knife and a bit of patience (don’t worry, it’s really not that bad). Once that’s done, you mince a clove of garlic and mix it all up with crushed red pepper and a little oil in a bowl. Once the pasta is done, you stir in a 1/2 cup of pasta water too before tossing with the drained pasta.
Finally, you chop up some prosciutto and stir it into the pasta. That’s it. You are totally ready to eat.
Now I want to invite over all the friends from my college days of making an old version of this pasta (which had no prosciutto, more oil, no pasta water and more garlic) so they can see how far I’ve come. In the meantime, I am just going to have a little more pasta for myself.
Sundried Tomato and Prosciutto Pasta
1/2 lb pasta such as Mezzi Rigatoni
1 cup thinly sliced sundried tomatoes (the dried kind; NOT packed in oil)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 oz prosciutto, chopped
Bring a big pot of water to boil on the stove. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water before draining.
While the pasta is cooking, start the sauce. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sundried tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes and olive oil. Once the pasta is done, stir in the cooking water and let sit for a minute.
Toss together the pasta and the red pepper mixture. Add the prosciutto and stir to combine.
Serve immediately. If desired, mix in a little freshly grated parmesan as well.