We did it. We successfully dropped our youngest off at college. My Emily, my baby, my Picky Eater. Hold on a sec, need to wipe the tears off my keyboard. Just kidding. It’s been a week and a half since we dropped her off and most of my tears and sniffles happened leading up to moving day. I was remarkably fine the day we moved her in. It was a really nice day and her sister’s 21st birthday and since they are at the same university, we got to all go out and celebrate at dinner before my husband and I headed home. We are official empty nesters I guess. Well, we still have Buddy, our 15 year old lab. Just the three of us. Kinda weird, will take some getting used to. I miss my girls but am so proud of them and they are happy and all thriving. That’s what matters.
Leading up to moving day, it was so hectic around here. Running around shopping and last minute errands and I also started back to work, substitute teaching at the high school. I asked Picky Eater if she wanted any special meals before she left and she asked for a few. The first thing she wanted was “pasta with that ham stuff I like”, also known as Penne with Prosciutto and Cream.
Several months ago, Always Hungry called from New York. She was having a dinner party in her new apartment with friends and she was making the main dish and dessert. I wasn’t home and she got Meathead who suggested mom’s penne and prosciutto dish. Always Hungry said perfect, and Meathead gave her the recipe out of my messy drawer. She said it was a huge hit.
It is ridiculously simple, a baked dish with pasta, parmesan, cream and prosciutto. Picky Eater and Meathead absolutely love this pasta. I am not a fan of gloppy alfredo sauces. This dish is surprisingly light, if that’s the right term to use. Really flavorful and comforting. Use really good ingredients, like Parmigiana-Reggiano. Volpi is here in St. Louis, on the Hill. I get their prosciutto which you can find in any of our grocery stores. Really good stuff.
I’m glad I made this for her before she left for college. It warmed my heart to sit at the table, just the three of us, enjoying one of her favorite dinners. They grow up fast.
Baked penne with prosciutto, parmesan and cream, just four ingredients.
- 2¼ cups heavy cream
- 1½ cups plus 2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan ~ use the good stuff, Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1 pound penne
- 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, coarsely chopped ~ I like Volpi brand
Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 375º
In a medium heavy saucepan, put heavy cream, 1½ cups grated parmesan and ¾ teaspoon salt and ¾ teaspoon fresh, cracked pepper. Stir over moderate heat to just a boil and then remove from heat.
Cook pasta in salted water until al dente and drain. Return pasta to pot and stir in parmesan cream and prosciutto. Transfer to a 2-quart shallow baking dish, not glass.
Bake 15 minutes. Stir pasta to coat evenly and sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons of parmesan on top.
Turn on broiler. Broil 4 - 5 inches from heat until lightly browned and top is crispy, about 2 - 4 minutes.
- Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, December 2006