Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Pound of Prosciutto

I bought a pound of prosciutto this weekend. It was a lot more than I had expected. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, it just means that Joe and I needed to consume our fair share of prosciutto. This is a task I am ready and willing to tackle.
I actually have a special relationship with prosciutto. When we first moved here to Maine, I was desperately seeking any form of employment. An opportunity came along for me to be a “demonstrator” at a cheese shop where I would give out free samples of prosciutto and parmesan cheese. It was not my greatest moment and not exactly what my college degree was in, but it did pay.
This event was sponsored by the EU, or at least so I was told. I had to do a 45 minute telephone training prior to handing out samples. Since we didn’t have a land-line at the house we were renting, I sat in Joe’s office and repeated out loud “Prosciutto di Parma” and “Parmesano Reggiano” rolling my r’s and using my best Italian accent. I did learn a little about both items that I did not know before, so all in all it was a win-win.
The cheese shop was a fantastic little place in southern Maine, tons of artisanal products, but the best part was that the owner wore a t-shirt that said “Cheese Wiz” on it. For two days I stood at a tiny little table and cut pieces of prosciutto and parmesan, speared them with toothpicks and handed them out to patrons at the shop. At the end of my two days, I promptly spent all the money I had earned on a selection of other meats and cheeses at the store.
This weekend’s prosciutto procurement was not as fancy (I had a coupon okay!) and not nearly as tasty. Although cured meat is cured meat, and by golly we were going to use it. After wrapping spears of asparagus in prosciutto and baking them, I had about a half a pound left. There was always the possibility of wrapping the meat around my finger and eating it like I used to with fruit roll-ups but I thought I might try something a bit classier than that.
A friend of mine makes a frittata that is great warm or cold and can handle a good deal of cured Italian meats in it. In fact I am a little crazy for this frittata. I told Joe approximately 10 times while eating how much I liked it. It’s inexpensive and filling, looks very fancy and is very mobile for the likes of picnics and such.
Hodge’s Frittata
Cold left over pasta is perfect here. If you don’t have any lying around, boil some up the night before you plan to make this. I think it holds its own better against the egg this way. You can add more vegetables to this, and adjust the amount of meat to suit your tastes.

¼ lb. cooked whole wheat spaghetti (cold)
2 Tb. Onion, diced
1 large handful greens such as spinach, arugula or baby broccoli rabe (what you see in the photos above)
1 Tb olive oil
5 large eggs
8 slices prosciutto (or more), cut in ribbons
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°. Sauté the onion in olive oil over medium heat in a frying pan. Add greens and sauté until barely wilted. Remove from pan and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs together with a little water, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Place ½ of the cold spaghetti in the bottom of the frying pan over medium heat, sprinkle with greens and onion mixture and the prosciutto. Add the remaining half of the spaghetti and pour eggs all over the spaghetti. With the back of a spoon, press spaghetti down to make sure the egg comes up all the way to the top. (It does not have to cover the spaghetti but it should touch everything in the pan.)

Continue to cook the frittata on the stove top for about 3 minutes, until the sides are cooked. Then place in oven and bake until the center is set another 15 -20 minutes. To serve, loosen with a spatula and slip out of pan onto a plate of cutting board. Let cool a few moments and slice. Or let cool completely and refrigerate.


  1. RE: Hodge’s Frittata

    The frittata you picture came to me through my Italian grandmother's cook and I passed it on to "Hodge". I spent some time in the kitchen with the cook in 1975 and she showed me how to make it. She would make two from 1Kg of spaghetti and we (about a dozen of my family of all ages) would go to the beach for the day with large wicker baskets in hand and eat fruit, panini, frittata etc. The look, the smell, the feel, the diversity of fillings take me back to the beach and my family.

  2. Thanks for the comment! The beach picnic sounds lovely - and makes me think I should pack this frittata the next time I head to the beach!


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