Sunday, February 14, 2016

Rotelle, Broccoli and Ham with Parmigiana Crema

     Wagon Wheel Pasta!
     Rotelle, Broccoli and Ham with Parmigiana Crema is a nice home style pasta.  Rotelle is also called Wagon Wheel Pasta.  I actually have offered today's simple pasta as a lunch special du dour at a French café when the weather was chilly and this item sold well.  Sometimes customers find simple food to be quite appealing when they seek comfort.   
     There are many Italian pasta recipes that require specific varieties of Italian ham.  Prosciutto Ham usually takes the limelight, but Italians like plain roasted cured ham too.  Standard cured roasted ham is used in today's recipe, because the gentle flavor tastes nice with broccoli and Parmigiana Cheese Sauce.

      "Ziti With Broccoli" is a traditional Italian cream sauce pasta that is similar to today's recipe.  The mother sauce is Besciamella, which is nearly the same thing as French Béchamel Sauce or American style Milk Gravy.  Besciamella can be made ahead of time or it can be made to order.
     Simmering and reducing heavy cream to make a cream sauce is taboo in Italian cuisine.  This method may be very easy to do, but the high price of cream will drive food costs up.  Reduced cream sauces also are not healthy for customers, because cream is basically nothing more than butter fat.  It is better to make a simple Besciamella Sauce, then add cheese when making sauce for pasta.
     Why not call today's pasta sauce by the name "Alfredo Sauce?"  Many restaurant chefs call a Parmigiana Crema Sauce an Alfredo Sauce, but this kind of is deceptive marketing practice.  A real Alfreado Sauce is made only with butter, Parmigiana Cheese and black pepper, that is slowly stirred over very low heat for nearly 1 hour, till the cheese and butter combines.  There actually is no cream in an authentic Alfredo Sauce recipe.  This is why it is better to call today's sauce what it really is, rather than call it an Alfredo Sauce!  Today's pasta sauce should be called Parmigiana Crema, Parmigiana Besciamella or in plain English, Parmesan Cheese Sauce.    

     *This entire recipe yields 1 pasta entrée!
     Rotelle Pasta:
     Cook 1 portion of Rotelle Pasta in boiling water over high heat till the pasta is al dente.
     Cool the pasta under cold running water.
     Drain the water off the pasta.
     Set the pasta aside.

     Rotelle, Broccoli and Ham with Parmigiana Crema:
     Step 1:  Heat a wide sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add an equal amount of flour while constantly stirring with a whisk.  (The roux should be shiny, not caky looking.)
     Stir till the roux is white color.
     Step 2:  Add 1 1/4 cups of milk while stirring.
     Add 1/4 cup of cream.
     Step 3:  Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.  Stir occasionally as the sauce thickens to a thin consistency.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Add 1/4 cup of finely grated Parmigiana Cheese while stirring with a whisk.
     Add 2 pinches of coarsely ground black pepper.
     Stir till the cheese melts into the sauce.
     Step 5:  Add 3 ounces of hand torn small bite size pieces of roasted cured ham.
     Add 3/4 cup of small broccoli florets.
     Simmer till the broccoli is tender and the sauce reduces to a medium thin consistency that can coat a spoon.
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add the prepared Rotelle Pasta to the sauce.
     Gently toss the ingredients together till the pasta is hot.
     Step 7:  Mound the pasta on a plate or shallow pasta bowl.
     Serve with some fine grated Parmigiana Cheese on the side.
     No garnish is necessary!

     This home style pasta has a comfortable rich flavor! 

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