Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pasta with Asparagus, Sopressata, and Aged Asiago

It has been a while since I created a dinner recipe on my own, so I had so much fun putting this one together! My inspiration? A link of sopressata and block of aged asiago cheese in my fridge just waiting to be used for something, and a craving for pasta. Plus, my friend Jenny was coming for dinner and I know she loves my pasta dishes.

I have cooked with prosciutto and pancetta before, so I figured I could do the same with sopressata. I knew I'd have to use small pieces, however, as it is on the firm side and would maintain this firmness when cooked. So I pulled out my little handheld mandolin, peeled back the casing, and made very thin slices. Like this -

I then sliced each piece and diced them into very small pieces to be sauteed with the shallots and garlic.

Here is how it all came together -

Pasta with Asparagus, Sopressate and Aged Asiago
Original Recipe by Mary Ellen of Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations


  • 1/2 lb penne pasta
  • 1/2 link of hot sopresatta (about 3 inch long piece)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, top half only
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional for extra heat)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch or two of Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Aged Asiago cheese, freshly grated, about 1/2-3/4 cup
  • 1/2 c reserved pasta water
  • Equipment: mandolin; I used a small handheld mandolin.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil
  • Put asparagus into the water and let cook less than a minute. Remove from the water and put in a bowl of ice water, or run under very cold water. Slice diagonally into 1.5 inch pieces.
  • Add pasta to the water the asparagus cooked in; cook to al dente.
  • Heat olive oil in a large saute pan
  • Add shallots, garlic, red pepper flakes, and sopressata. Saute about 3 minutes.
  • Add asparagus and pasta, mix. Slowly add a little of the pasta water - I only used about 1/4 cup.
  • Add cheese, salt, and pepper

WOW - loved this. We all did! The aged asiago cheese added such great flavor (strong, yet not overpowering), and worked very well with the sopressata. I will definitely make this one again!

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