CLASSIC pasta simple ham sauce for fettuccine (or similar)








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This is a ham and cream sauce: there are several classic pasta sauces that use butter and cream, and then one of several other ingredients, perfect for pasta fresca. This is one using ham: a sauce that is simple, exquisite to taste, and melds perfectly with the pasta.

for the sauce:

  • five ounces of ham (not sliced, preferably a slab about one-inch thick)
  • six tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • one cup heavy whipping cream
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • dash of nutmeg (optional)
  • one-half cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • touch of parsley (optional)

for the pasta:

  • one pound freshly-made egg pasta, fettuccine or tagliatelle. The beautiful, tubular egg pasta, garganelli, would also be wonderful.

We had cut slabs of ham, about one-half inch thick, from our 22-pound Easter ham, and then froze the slabs for future use (such as this recipe). Cut the ham into small squares, one-quarter to one-half inch thick. Melt the butter over a low heat in a sauté pan. Add the ham and sauté for three to four minutes, stirring gently, occasionally. Set aside.

Bring 4-5 quarts of water to a raging boil, add a tablespoon of salt, add the pasta and cook until just short of al dente. (Testing by pulling out a strand of pasta with a wooden pasta fork, and tasting). When the pasta is just short of al dente, drain well.

Return the sauté pan to medium heat. Add the drained pasta to the pan. Then add the cream, a little at a time, stirring and tossing as you go. The tossing is very important. Each strand should be coated evenly and thoroughly. Add the nutmeg and the salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle the parmesan on top, stir once more, and serve immediately on warmed plates. A touch of parsley on the serving adds color.



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