If bacon makes everything better, then prosciutto makes everything perfect. Having a bad day? Just whip out the prosciutto, wrap it around a chunk of mozzarella and put it on a baguette for a quick sandwich, or skip the vehicle and eat it straight up — either way, you will feel a thousand times better. It’s the Italian version of chicken-soup-for-the-cranky-soul; something about it is just calming and makes you feel like you’re sitting at a cafe on a cobblestone street in Italy (even if you’re standing in front of your fridge at 2 am). So what is prosciutto? It’s a salt-cured, dry-aged Italian ham. Prosciutto is a bit on the salty side, but indulging on a semi-regular basis can’t be that bad for you (this is what I tell myself when I self-medicate with cured meat).
Prosciutto di Parma is some of the best stuff because the process is so closely regulated in Parma, but I’ve tried some local NYC prosciuttos and they are catching up to the homeland. Ask your butcher for a taste before purchasing; this stuff isn’t cheap and you want to love whatever you get. If you’re going to be cooking the prosciutto, ask for thicker slices (about 1/8 inch thick), but for everything else ask them to slice it as thin as possible — it should look like a beautiful meat stained-glass window — a delicate texture to pair with its delicate flavor. Get in touch with your inner Italian and mangia!
- Gnocchi is often made with potatoes, but switch it up and make Goat Cheese Ricotta Gnocchi with Garden Zucchini Tomato Sauce and Crisp Prosciutto.
- Ricotta Pancakes with Roasted Golden Delicious Apples and Roasted Prosciutto is a definite step up from the boxed pancake mix (not that there’s anything wrong with getting by with a little help from our boxed friends).
- If you’re not a fan of lamb, you can substitute beef cuts like filet mignon in Giada’s Prosciutto and Cheese Stuffed Lamb Tenderloin recipe.
- Prosciutto on pizza will never fail you: Cornmeal Crusted Pizza with Prosciutto, Green Peas, Fontina and Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grilled Pizza with Prosciutto, Pesto and Taleggio Cheese, Pizzettes with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto, and Stuffed Pizza with Variations: Spinach and Fontina, Escarole, Anchovy, Pine Nut and Raisin, Prosciutto Cotto and Scamorza.
- Italian Flatbread Piadina with Fontina and Prosciutto (pictured above) is similar to pizza but is traditionally cooked on the grill, which makes for a great party food that won’t overheat the house.
- Peas and Prosciutto go together like, well, peas and carrots.
- Similar, but so much more delicious than bacon-wrapped scallops: Prosciutto-Wrapped Scallops and Prosciutto-Wrapped Scallops with a Dry Jack Pesto Over Linguine.
- Giada’s Frittata with Potato and Prosciutto reminds me of the cold tortilla Espanola sandwiches I ate throughout my travels in Spain. It’s a filling snack and a great way to switch up your brunch menu.
- Wrapping meat with prosciutto makes everything better; try out Prosciutto- or Pancetta-Wrapped Pork Roast with Fennel and Golden Raisin Stuffing for a delicious weekend dinner.
- Prosciutto Standing Rib Roast with Figs is truly a work of meat art.
- Quiche with prosciutto is just a fancy version of ham and eggs that everyone will love. Try out Mini Spinach Quiches in Crispy Prosciutto Cups and Beet Green, Prosciutto and Feta Quiche.
- Winey Figs, Prosciutto and Ricotta Crostini is a simple app that comes together in a flash. Rehydrate the dried figs in a full-bodied red wine like Cabernet or Bordeaux.
- Tyler Florence’s Potato Gnocchi with Peas, Prosciutto and Ricotta is a simple homemade pasta topped with fresh lemon ricotta. Or you can save time and use store-bought gnocchi.
- Giada’s Linguine and Prosciutto Frittatas sound exactly like what my grandma used to make with extra pasta. It’s a great use of leftovers and the individual portions are super cute!
- When life gives you apples, make Apple Butter and spread it on Baked Prosciutto and Brie with Apple Butter.
- Mini Baked Potatoes with Mascarpone and Prosciutto Bits make for adorable hors d’oeuvres or side dishes.
- A great app or a light lunch, Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Bruschetta with Black Lentils hits all of your cravings (cheesy, salty, rich) in one bite.
- Red Wine Marinated Flank Steak Filled with Prosciutto, Fontina and Basil with Cabernet-Shallot Reduction says it all; just enjoy. Always marinate tough cuts of meat, like flank steak, overnight to tenderize. Be sure to cut against the grain, otherwise you’ll end up chewing leather.
- Emeril’s Fettuccini Alfredo with Prosciutto and Peas recipe makes the ultimate comfort food in under half an hour.
- Crespelle are Italian crepes, often made with some chestnut flour. Substitute up to half of the all-purpose flour used in the Crespelle con Prosciutto Cotto e Fontina recipe with chestnut or almond flour for nutty authentic flavor. Like crepes, crespelle are easily frozen; make a double batch and freeze the rest for another night.
- Giada wraps her lamb burgers with a slice of prosciutto and tops them with basil and tomato instead of buns, reducing carbs and calories in her Prosciutto Lamb Burgers.
- I love buying beets with the leaves because it always feels like I’ve won the supermarket lottery, a two-for-one sort of deal. Beets are delicious on their own or roasted and paired with some goat cheese, and the greens are very similar to Swiss chard. Try them out in Beet Stalks with Prosciutto: Coste di Bietola con Prosciutto. The orange zest and juice will brighten up these very rich flavors.
- Radicchio Treviso, an Italian bitter, red, leafy veg, pairs wonderfully with the rich salty flavor of prosciutto; if you can’t find any at the market you can substitute with similarly bitter endives. Try the pairing two ways: Prosciutto di Parma con Insalata and Radicchio Treviso with Eggs and Prosciutto: Radicchio con Uova e Prosciutto.
- Prosciutto-Wrapped Cod is low-cal, super flavorful and not as fatty as anything wrapped in bacon.
- Braciole (pronounced BRA-jole if you’re an Italian-American from New York City) is a dish that consists of thinly sliced meat rolled around cheese, cured meat like prosciutto and/or a mix of veggies. The rolls are seared and then usually braised in a tomato sauce (aka gravy) and normally served on the side of pasta. Try it two ways, compliments of Mario Batali: Veal Rolls in Tomato Sauce: Braciole di Vitello and Stuffed Pork Rolls: Braciole Abruzzese.
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