Most of the time when I’m in the kitchen, ready to cook a meal, I don’t use recipes. I tend to skim through them, look at the photos and use them more as inspiration than anything else. I like to experiment. Try new things. Explore new flavours and textures. Develop new creations.
Most of the time. Sometimes, however, the inspiration is just not there. I can look around in the pantry, take a peak in the fridge, poke my head in the freezer but the inspiration is gone. Poof.
There are days when you feel like doing as absolutely as little as possible. Lounging on the sofa, listening to some good tunes or reading a good book seem perfectly reasonable. Days when the brain is not really working, when the idea of making something to eat seem too much of a task. These days happen to all of us, and it’s totally alright!
A while back I had one of those days and I went online to randomly pick a dish to make for dinner. A recipe from Epicurious caught my attention: Tagliatelle, one of my favourite pastas, tossed with crisp prosciutto and fresh orange. As I was reading the recipe I started salivating. Orange and prosciutto. What a beautiful combination. The wheels started turning and before the dish was ready to be enjoyed around the table, I had adapted the recipe slightly. Being a bacon fanatic, I felt prosciutto alone wasn’t enough. And ginger, well, I put ginger in almost everything I make. My twist to the recipe is below. You can find the original recipe here.
450g egg tagliatelle pasta
125g thinly sliced prosciutto, cut in 1/2″ strips
1” piece fresh ginger
Zest & juice of 2 oranges
1-2 tbsp sambal oelek
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup chicken broth
Salt & pepper
4 green onions
Shaved or grated parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 500F.
Spread out the bacon on a large baking pan lined with parchment paper. Place in the upper part of the oven for about 10-15 min, until bacon is crisp. Transfer the bacon to paper towel and let dry off and cool. Save the leftover bacon fat.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until 1 minute before al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
Meanwhile, finely dice the onion, jalapeño and ginger. Separately, slice green onions. Set aside.
Add the bacon fat to a large heavy cast iron skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion, jalapeño and ginger to the butter and sauté for 3-4 minutes until onions become translucent. Add the prosciutto and sauté another 3 minutes. Add reserved pasta water, orange juice, half of zest, and cream; bring to a boil.
Roughly chop the bacon. Add it to the sauce along with the pasta. While stirring, let it simmer, until sauce coats pasta and pasta is cooked, about 1-2 minutes.
Season with pepper. I find the bacon and Prosciutto gives the dish enough salt. Stir in green onions. Serve immediately on a bed of arugula and sprinkled parmesan on top.