Pasta a la Pisticci, and a dinner party

I love hosting dinner parties for the same reason I love blogging about recipes: it allows me to share wonderful food with wonderful people! Dinner parties also afford me the opportunity to try out multiple new recipes at once with captive taste-testers, who never seem to mind.

pasta a la pisticciI recently hosted four dear friends in my Manhattan apartment, two other New Yorkers and two new friends visiting from Paris. As they hailed from the culinary capital of the world, I was determined to show them just how delicious good ol’ American cooking could be – God forbid they return to France and tell people we only eat hamburgers and pizza, confirming the suspicions. I carefully selected the recipes for seasonality, ease of preparation, and, of course, general awesomeness, and included another one of my favorite restaurant copy-cat recipes, Pasta a la Pisticci. This is the complete menu I served that evening, in case you too would like to host a dinner party this fall!

Fall Dinner Party Menu

Appetizer


Spinach feta dip with Rosemary flatbread , which I made a day ahead of time. The feta dip was so-so; the flatbread was amazing and so easy I don’t know why I haven’t been making it for years!

Meal

Pumpkin Bacon Sage Soup – the clear winner of the evening; one of my French guests said it was the best soup she’d ever had in her life! I’ve been dreaming about this soup ever since and plan to make it again. The only change I made is to only use 1/2 cup of cream instead of 1 cup.

Crispy Topped Brussels Sprouts & Cauliflower Gratin– delicious, but I think plain roasted sprouts and cauliflower taste even better, without the added calories.

Pasta a la Pisticci, which I am just about to tell you how to make – always a crowd pleaser.

Dessert

Pear-ginger upside-down cake with fresh vanilla whipped cream

 

Pasta a la Pisticci
with garlic, spinach, and prosciutto
Serves 4               Time: 15 minutes
Per serving: 349 calories; 45 carbs; 11g fat; 20g protein; 729g sodium; 2g sugar
Like my recent post on Pasta with pear, arugula, and Gorgonzola cream sauce, pasta a la Pisticci is my attempt to recreate a dish from my other favorite neighborhood Italian restaurant, Pisticci. Their food is well-made, simple, and sustainable, and they have not changed their menu in all the years I’ve been eating there, which I love. The first time I had this dish at the restaurant, I was smitten, and vowed to recreate it at home, which I think I have done.
citterio prosciutto cubettiIngredients
  • 8 oz pasta of your choice; I used fettucini
  • 4 oz prosciutto (I buy the brand at right)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 oz baby spinach
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese for serving (about 2 T per serving)
Directions
Boil salted water and add pasta; cook until al dente, according to package directions.
While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a dash of olive oil to the pan and allow to warm.
Add prosciutto bits to pan and cook 5 minutes or so, until they begin to crisp.
Add garlic to prosciutto and cook 2 minutes more.
Turn off heat and add spinach to garlic and and prosciutto, mixing it well so the spinach gets coated in the bacon-y garlic-y goodness that is in the pan.
At this point the pasta should be done; scoop out 1 cup of the cooking liquid and drain the rest.
Return the pasta to its pot, and add the spinach, garlic, and prosciutto mixture, as well as some of the reserved cooking liquid, and cook 2 minutes more, tossing and stirring to combine everything together. Add salt to taste at this point.
Serve with copious amount of Parmesan cheese.

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