3 quarts water
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1 pound asparagus, tops cut off and reserved separately, stems cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 1/4 cups Chicken Stock (see page 225)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup prosciutto or thinly sliced smoked ham, cut into thin strips
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 (1 pound) packages gnocchi or 1 pound pasta - penne rigate, rigatoni, tortiglioni or ziti
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Gnocchi with Creamy Asparagus-Prosciutto Sauce
Serves 4 To 6
Bring to water to a boil in a large pot. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saute pan set on high heat until sizzling, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, onion and asparagus stems and cook until the garlic begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and boil until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the parsley, chicken stock, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes, until the asparagus is soft.
Transfer the asparagus mixture to a food processor of blender and process to a smooth, creamy consistency, about 1 minute.
In the same pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat until sizzling, about 1 minute. Add the asparagus tops and half the prosciutto or ham and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the prosciutto or ham and asparagus begin to change color and become fragrant. Add the processed asparagus mixture and the cream to the pan, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, cook the gnocchi or pasta in the boiling water according to package directions, drain well and return to the pot. Pour the sauce over the gnocchi, add the cheese and gently stir to coat well. Transfer to plates and top, each serving with the remaining prosciutto or ham.
Wine Suggestion - Syrah