Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Menu Staple with a Mountain Twist

Peas and Prosciutto is probably Chef Titina's favorite side dish. It's a delicious pairing, easy to make, and it goes well chicken, pork or beef. This week, she's serving it with Braciole al Ragu (beef rolls in heavy sauce), the centerpiece of her popular Napoli cooking class menu.

But her husband, Capri Flavors owner, Costanzo won't be there for dinner. He's off in the Italian Alps (photo 2 above) , attending the annual Speckfest. Speck is regional speciality from the beautiful mountains of South Tyrol, that part of Italy that was in Austria until about 90 years ago.

A choice cut of pork that is air-dried like prosciutto, speck has one big difference--it's smoked.

Try its unique flavor in place of prosciutto in favorite dishes like Chef Titina's peas. (recipe follows) Or go to and click on the English language tab, then search recipes. You'll be putting a new flavor on the table, one that brings to mind beautiful vistas, cool temperatures and clear mountain air scented with wood smoke.

Here's Titina's recipe. Give it a mountain twist with speck.

Piselli al Prosciutto
Spring Peas with Prosciutto

1 ½ lb (750 g) fresh or frozen peas
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ cups (12 oz/350 g) prosciutto, diced
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped; or ¼ cup onion, chopped
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) water & 1 cube beef bouillon
3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Serves 4; Preparation: 15 minutes; Cooking: 25 minutes; Level of difficulty: Simple

Sauté the prosciutto in the oil in a large skillet (frying pan) for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Let the oil cool, and then add the peas, garlic, parsley, and water with the added beef bouillon. Partially cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and chopped parsley.

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