Roasted Cauliflower and Tomato Pasta with Crispy Prosciutto and Arugula

Cauliflower Penne

This recipe was inspired by the contents of my refrigerator. It was a weeknight, I hadn’t shopped, and I wanted to make an easy and satisfying one-dish dinner. Pasta is always useful in this situation. With a little digging in the refrigerator I unearthed a cauliflower, prosciutto and arugula, while the cheese drawer disclosed a couple hunks of Parmgiano-Reggiano and Pecorino Romano cheese.

Further inspired by a Cooking Light recipe as well as a similar recipe from Simply Recipes, I decided to roast the cauliflower and tomatoes and toss them with the pasta. The roasting process softens and chars the cauliflower, adding a nice depth to the dish, while shriveling and intensifying the flavor of the tomatoes. From there I digressed, improvising with my other ingredients. I baked the prosciutto in the oven until it crisped, and snapped the pieces into salty shards. Then I combined the cooked pasta with the cauliflower, tomatoes and prosciutto before tossing in the arugula and tumbling everything together so that the heat from the pasta would slightly wilt the peppery arugula leaves. Finally I scattered the dish wth a mix of Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino cheese. The result was a healthy, satisfying weeknight meal which could be served warm or at room temperature. Digging in the refrigerator is fun, and I highly recommend it.

Roasted Cauliflower and Tomato Pasta with Crispy Prosciutto and Arugula
Serves 4

1 medium head of cauliflower, broken into 1″ florets
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
3 ounces sliced prosciutto
1 pound penne pasta
1 large garlic clove
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups arugula, washed and dried
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup Pecorino Romana cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F. (200 C.)
Arrange cauliflower and tomatoes in one layer on a baking sheet. Toss with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Roast in oven until cauliflower is tender and browned on the edges, about 20 minutes.
While the cauliflower is roasting, arrange prosciutto slices in one layer on another baking sheet. Place in same oven and bake for 20 minutes as well.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain. Combine pasta, cauliflower, tomatoes, garlic and black pepper in a large bowl. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Break prosciutto into shards. Scatter prosciutto and arugula over pasta and toss to combine. Combine the 2 cheeses in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over pasta and toss. Taste to see if more cheese is needed. Serve pasta with remaining cheese on the side.

Asparagus and Prosciutto Pizza

Asparagus and Prosciutto Pizza

Asparagus Prosciutto Pizza 1

Simplicity rules with this delicious pizza. Asparagus, prosciutto and cheese are all that’s needed to create a salty, crispy, savory pizza. Cook the pizza on a hot pizza stone in the oven, or, better yet in the summer heat, cook it on the grill. To grill the pizza, place the stretched dough on an oiled grill grate. Grill briefly over medium fire, then flip the crust with a spatula or tongs. Add the toppings, cover the grill and cook until the crust is crispy and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Asparagus and Prosciutto Pizza

Makes 2 small pizzas or 1 large pizza
Pizza dough (see below)

8 ounces buffalo mozzarella, drained, sliced
4 ounces prosciutto slices
Thin asparagus (if using thick asparagus, slice in half lengthwise)
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan

Assemble pizzas:
Place pizza crust on parchment paper. Lightly brush pizza crusts with olive oil. Arrange one layer mozzarella cheese over crusts. Top with layer of prosciutto. Arrange asparagus spears over prosciutto. Top with grated cheese. Slide crusts onto pizza stone (or on tray on lowest rack) in preheated 475 F. oven. Cook until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Before serving, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

For the Pizza Dough:

2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup semolina flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups cold water
1/4 cup olive oil

Stir yeast and lukewarm water together in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and semolina. Mix well. Let sit until bubbly, about 30 minutes.
Combine remaining flour and salt in another bowl. Add to yeast with cold water and olive oil. Mix well to form a dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead with hands until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Or use a mixer with a dough hook, and knead about 5 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat all sides with oil. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
Punch dough down, and let rise another 45 minutes. Divide dough into 2 equal disks (or 4 if you would like small pizzas.) Let rest 30 minutes before shaping. Lightly flour a work surface. Using your fingers or heels of your hands, stretch the disks out to 10″ shapes.