If you’ve ever watched the Real Housewives of New Jersey, you know Teresa Giudice, mom to 4 girls and ex fashion contributor to Vogue. She’s also a pretty great cook – not surprising, having come from a large Italian family. Her cookbook, Skinny Italian, is a New York Times bestseller, full of Giudice family recipes straight from Salerno.
Teresa shared one of her favorite go-to pasta dinners with us – a simple, kid-friendly dish with ham and peas that could be made with tagliatelle or any other pasta shape and takes no longer to prepare than it does to boil the pasta. Top with freshly grated Parmesan at the table.
Teresa’s Favorite Tagliatelle
This is my absolute favorite pasta dish. If you can’t find tagliatelle, you can use linguini. I’ll admit it’s not necessary to use green pasta since you can’t really taste the spinach in it anyway, but I like when it looks all colorful. Feel free to sprinkle a little Parmigiano-Reggiano on top.
1 pound tagliatelle or linguini pasta, preferably 8 ounces each plain and spinach
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons butter
5 ounces thick-sliced smoked ham, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup cooked fresh or thawed frozen peas
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Time the pasta so it is done at about the same time as the sauce.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the butter and melt. Add the ham and peas and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 3 minutes more. Reduce the heat to very low to keep warm.
3. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot. Add the sauce and the salt and pepper. Toss the pasta, adding enough of the pasta water to make a light sauce. Serve hot.
From SKINNY ITALIAN by Teresa Giudice. Photographs by Ben Fink. Copyright © 2010. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.