Food memories – Pasta Salad With Crispy Prosciutto and Winter Vegetables
I grew up in the extreme north of Sweden, well above the polar circle, but when I was 9 years old, we moved back south again. I realize now how much that move must have revolutionized my diet, the whole family’s diet but above all mine because I had lived there since I was two and I have only a few memories of what I ate for lunch and dinner while living in Kiruna. One thing was my mother’s loved pancakes and the other was a dish called pölsa which I heartily hated, it is supposedly similar to Scottish haggis but I wouldn’t know, I still avoid pölsa and I have never tried Haggis. The move back south must have made my mother feel like I did when I moved to Italy, overwhelmed and almost over stimulated by all the wonderful things you could cook with, she must have cooked her socks off as I have lots of food memories from my life after the age of 9 and I especially remember falling in love with pasta dishes. Now I know that they weren’t much like the original versions that I eat here (and I know that is still often the case in my old country) but still I loved them and I love the memories I have of them; my mothers cannelloni were my absolute favourite for many years, the dish I always wanted to eat on my birthdays. Pasta is still a favourite of mine, I think that if I could decide what my life’s last dish would be, it would be a plate of spaghetti alla pomarola, simple but totally satisfying.
Pasta salad is often associated with summer, but why not prepare it during the darker months as well? It is the perfect lunch dish and, because it is cold, it can be prepared ahead of time; just toss the ingredients together when it is time to eat! And it is perfect for your lunch box the day after. This tasty pasta salad is made with crispy Parma ham, cauliflower, green beans and celery root, but you can easily replace any of them with what is available, such as butternut squash or carrots.
PASTA SALAD WITH CRISPY PROSCIUTTO AND WINTER VEGETABLES
400 g/14 oz pasta
1 small cauliflower
1 small celery root
150 g/5,3 oz Parma ham
bunch of parsley, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic
extra-virgin olive oil
Cook the pasta al dente, drain and rinse it with cold water. Add a few drops of olive oil and stir to keep the pasta from getting sticky.
Trim and then dice the celery root. Divide the cauliflower into florets (keep what is left for a soup) and cut the green beans into smaller pieces.
Fry the Parma ham in a non-stick skillet without any fat, one slice at a time, until they are crispy. Leave to cool on paper.
Heat up a little oil in a skillet with a slightly crushed garlic clove, add the vegetables and season with the herb salt. Braise slowly on moderate heat, add a little water now and then in the beginning to cook the vegetables faster, when they are soft, increase the temperature and cook until they are golden.
Add the vegetables to the pasta, tear the crispy Parma ham in smaller pieces and add that as well, sprinkle with parsley over and mix the salad well before serving. If needed, drizzle a little olive oil over.