Do you have a favorite pasta shape? For me it’s sort of a toss-up between angel hair and bowties. I love angel hair for the how delicate the pasta is and how easy it is to eat, and bowties because, well, they’re so cute.
Is that even a valid reason for liking a pasta shape? They are cute! They make any pasta dish look just a little bit fancy, like the pasta got all dressed up for a show. And each one is a perfect forkful size.
For this bowtie pasta dish, I started with a classic—bowties with peas and prosciutto—but ditched the cream sauce that usually accompanies this dish. Instead, I lightened it up a bit by tossing everything with olive oil, black pepper, and Parmesan and added fresh baby arugula for some peppery greens.
Wow! Prosciutto, arugula, peas, parm, pasta, pepper? Perfect! So good together.
The bowtie pasta I’m using is De Cecco farfalle. De Cecco is a “premium” Italian pasta brand, which means it costs a little more than your average pasta. In my mind, it’s totally worth it. Why?
Two reasons. It tastes great, and it doesn’t get mushy. I’m bolding that last point because when you cook a lot of pasta, the last thing you want is for it to get mushy. Even if you lose track of time and overcook it by a minute or two, it doesn’t fall apart.
The pasta is made with 100% semolina, which is made from durum wheat, a “hard” wheat variety that has a high protein content. Pasta made with this coarser variety of wheat stays firm when you cook it.
Okay back to the recipe. One more very important thing. It’s quick! It takes about as long to cook as it does to bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta. 30 minutes tops. Enjoy!
Bowtie Pasta with Peas, Prosciutto, and Arugula RecipePrint
Prep the ingredients while the pasta water is heating to save time.
- 1/2 pound (8 ounces) De Cecco farfalle bowtie pasta
- 3 Tbsp olive oil (divided, 1 Tbsp and 2 Tbsp)
- 2 ounces prosciutto, thin slices separated and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- 1 large handful baby arugula (about a cup and a half, packed)
- 2 Tbsp thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
1 Add pasta to boiling water to cook: Put 3 quarts of salted water (1/2 Tbsp of salt for every quart of water) onto a boil. Add the farfalle bowtie pasta and cook until al dente. (For DeCecco farfalle pasta, that's 11 minutes).
2 Gently cook prosciutto: Coat the bottom of a stick-free pan with 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Lay out the pieces of prosciutto in the pan in a single layer. Put the heat on medium and gently cook while the pasta is cooking.
Turn the pieces over after a few minutes.
The intension is not to crisp, but to render some of the fat and firm up the prosciutto a little. When this has been accomplished, remove the pan from heat.
3 Set aside some pasta cooking water, add peas to pasta and cook an additional minute: Once the pasta has been cooking for the correct timing for al dente, remove one cup of pasta cooking water from the pan and set aside.
Add the peas and cook a minute more.
4 Add pasta, peas, Parmesan, black pepper to prosciutto, then add mint and arugula: Strain the pasta and peas and add to the pan with the prosciutto. Add the Parmesan cheese and toss to coat. Add the black pepper.
Add 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Add the fresh baby arugula and mint and toss with the hot pasta to wilt the arugula.
Add more of the pasta water if the pasta seems dry.
5 Drizzle with olive oil: Drizzle and toss with 2 Tbsp of olive oil to serve.
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