Pasta with Artichokes and Cooked Ham

Ingredients

3 quarts water (1 tablespoon of salt optional)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 garlic cloves, sliced thick
4 artichoke heart, diced into half inch pieces
1 onion, diced
6 ounces baked ham or Prosciutto Cotto di Parma, diced into half inch pieces
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 pound penne pasta
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Directions

Serves 4-6

Bring the water to a boil in a large pot with or without the optional salt.

In a large sauté pan set on medium heat add the olive oil and red peppers and cook for about a minute. Add garlic and cook for another minute stirring well. Add the artichoke hearts and onion, stir well and cook for two more minutes. Add the diced cooked ham and stir well for two minutes.

Now we add the parsley, wine and increase the heat to high, stirring continuously until the wine has reduced by half, about two to three minutes.

Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 12-15 more minutes.

While the sauce is cooking, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the directions on the package.

Once the pasta is cooked, strain it, add it to the sauce and cook over medium low heat for three more minutes, stirring well to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom.

Add the parsley, butter and turn off the heat. Stir in the cheese and mix it all well until the cheese and the butter have melted into the pasta and sauce.

The pasta is now ready to be served!

Chefs’ Tip:

I like to undercook the pasta by three minutes and then cook the pasta into the sauce for last two to three minutes of cooking. Do this on medium heat stirring well. I find that this technique yields a more flavorful plate of pasta.

If you like a thicker sauce cook it for 15 minutes before you pour it on top of the pasta.