February 14, 2022 • Pasta & Pizza, Side Dishes
When I first started studying culinary arts, I was obsessed with people like Escoffier, the true pioneer chefs who shaped the techniques and flavor profiles of many of the famous dishes we all know and love today. This is one of Escoffier’s dishes, and it was in The Escoffier Cookbook as a “garnish” for lamb chops. I’m not sure that anyone would think that what’s basically an adult version of mac ‘n cheese would be a garnish, but it is most definitely a great side dish for a rack of lamb (like my Parmesan Crusted Rack of Lamb) or lamb chops. I adapted the recipe a bit – who doesn’t love just a little more cheese? I didn’t have ham on hand so used prosciutto which is more or less the same thing. And I had no Madeira but red vermouth is a decent substitute for that.
- 4 ounces short pasta
- 4 slices prosciutto, cut into thin pieces
- 6 small cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons red vermouth (or Madeira)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- ½ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
- Grated nutmeg, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Chopped parsley, for garnish
- Cook the pasta according to package directions just until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, combine the prosciutto, mushrooms, tomato paste, and vermouth in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the mushrooms are soft and the liquid starts turning to a glaze, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir int he butter to melt.
- Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. Toss the pasta with the sauce and cheeses, adding some of the reserved pasta water as needed to help the cheese melt and loosen the sauce a bit. Season to taste with nutmeg, salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley; serve immediately.