Friday, July 15, 2011

Recipe: Spaghetti al Melone

Hopefully I don't sound like a broken record, but once again, I made a Giada De Laurentiis recipe tonight: Spaghetti al Melone. Sometimes I think I should just follow in the footsteps of the blogger that inspired the Julie and Julia movie and work my way through all of Giada's cookbooks—Haha! Anywho, a few days ago on her show, Giada at Home, Giada and her aunt pulled some recipes from her grandmother's cookbook and made them for a sort of "comfort food/blast from the past" meal (original recipe can be found here). The recipe I'm sharing tonight caught my eye because it was so different from other pasta-with-sauce dishes that I've seen and made. The sauce is made with cantaloupe, which may seem a little odd, but the saltiness of that particular melon makes it perfect for certain savory dishes. I remember having melon wrapped in prosciutto as an appetizer during my homestay in Italy in high school, when I traveled with People to People International, and the combination of sweet and salty was perfect. Though the recipe doesn't call for it, I used that Italian appetizer as an inspiration and added crispy crumbles of prosciutto to the dish and the meal turned out great.

Serves: 4-6
Prep. time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

  • 1 lb. spaghetti pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan
  • 1 (2 lb.) cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces (if you're feeling lazy, just buy a few packs of already-sliced cantaloupe)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 stick (4 tbsp.) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup whiskey
  • 2 tbsp. fresh or bottled lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4-6 slices of prosciutto, chopped into small pieces

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (8-10 minutes). Drain and return it to the pot. Add the Parmesan and toss well. In the meantime, place the melon in a food processor and blend until chunky, then set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat the heavy cream and butter over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the butter melts and the mixture is smooth (about 2 minutes). Add the melon, lemon juice, and whiskey to the cream and butter mixture. Simmer until the mixture thickens (about 10 minutes; it did not thicken much when I made it, but it worked out just fine). Stir in the salt and pepper. Pour the melon sauce over the pasta and toss until it's coated. In another medium saucepan, sauté the prosciutto pieces in a little butter or olive oil until slightly crispy. Plate the pasta and top it with a sprinkle of crispy prosciutto and grated Parmesan cheese, and serve.

I absolutely LOVED this meal—by far my favorite dish of all the new dishes I've made in the past few weeks. It's light, buttery, creamy, salty, and so delicious! The melon adds a slight sweetness to the dish, while the Parmesan brings out the saltiness of the melon. Crispy prosciutto and a little extra Parmesan on top make this dish perfect. Giada's grandmother had the right idea when she decided to mix melon and pasta!

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