EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 21, 2013

Bowties and biscuits: Bring them on

Pat's Kitchen
Patricia Altomare

---- — Bowtie Pasta with Prosciutto, Pine Nuts and Spinach is one of the best pasta dishes my family and I have ever eaten: No exaggeration!

I found the recipe about five years ago when Sara Moulton of the Food Channel had Vita Greco on as her guest. Greco is a chef of Italian expertise and showed how to prepare this pasta dish. It has become a favorite in my collection of recipes.

No one I ever shared this recipe with saw that cooking demonstration, but the dish has become very popular and always is passed on to more and more people. When a group of friends and I vacationed in a condo in Vermont, each took a night to cook a meal of our choice. (The deal was, if you shop and cook, you are off clean-up duty and I was certainly up for that deal.) I chose to make this pasta recipe on my night to cook as it was quick, not a lot of prep, and I knew from making it many times in the past that it would go over well.

Some are a little doubtful when they see there are raisins in a pasta dish, but everyone has raved about this as soon as they taste it. There’s also something a bit special when you use Farfalle pasta (bowties); it seems to add a certain pizzazz.

Just a tip: I use regular spinach and I use quite a bit more than what the recipe calls for. I would also add that a quality Romano cheese really does top it all off with perfection.

Bowtie Pasta with Prosciutto, Pine Nuts and Spinach

Ingredients

3/4 cup pine nuts

3/4 cup raisins (any will do, but I prefer golden raisins)

1/2 cup boiling water

1/2 cup olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 small bunch baby spinach, washed and drained

1 pound bowtie pasta (Farfalle)

1/4 pound prosciutto, sliced into small pieces

Salt and pepper

Grated Romano cheese

Directions

Toast pine nuts in a small frying pan. Add raisins to boiling water until plump, then drain. In a large fry pan, heat oil and sauté garlic; add spinach, cook until wilted. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well and place in a large bowl with the nuts, raisins, spinach mixture, prosciutto, grated cheese, and pepper. Taste and add salt if needed (prosciutto and cheese is salty). Serve while nice and hot.

If you live on the West Coast, you call them green onions; on the East Coast, they are scallions. Who knew? No matter what they are called they are delicious in biscuits.

These are good for breakfast or dinner. Try adding different herbs such as fresh chives instead of the scallions, or some fresh dill.

Scallion Buttermilk Biscuits

(Makes about 26 biscuits)

Ingredients:

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

3/4 cup (11/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

11/2 cup cold buttermilk

1/4 cup finely chopped scallions

1 large egg, beaten, for glazing

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the first four (dry) ingredients. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse meal (or use pastry blender). Add buttermilk and scallions and stir till moist clumps form. Add more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, if dough is dry.

Divide dough in half. On a floured surface flatten to 3/4-inch thickness. Use a 2-inch cookie or biscuit cutter to cut out biscuits. Repeat with remainder of dough. Place on ungreased baking sheets and brush with beaten egg. Bake until golden on top, about 16 minutes. Serve hot. You can make these up to 6 hours ahead. Let stand on baking sheets and reheat in 325 degree oven for 5 minutes just before serving. Recipe can be cut in half if desired.

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Patricia Altomare invites your letters; patakitchen@yahoo.com.