Making “The Most Luxurious Weeknight Pasta”

I don’t know about y’all, but my entire Facebook feed is filled with food videos…from Buzzfeed Tasty to Food Network to Southern Living. I have always loved watching cooking shows on TV and I feel like these videos are cooking shows jampacked into just a few minutes. They are so informative and fun. I always save the ones that look really good and go back to my “Saved” videos on Facebook when I don’t know what I want cook.

So, that happened earlier this week. I went back to my “Saved” videos and stumbled across this one that I had saved from Bon Appétit (you can print out a version of the recipe here!) They described the pasta with mushrooms and prosciutto as “the most luxurious weeknight pasta” that could be prepared in about 20 minutes. I was sold.

I think Italian food is the easiest kind of food to make because it’s so adaptable. You can personalize and adjust most recipes to fit with whatever you have in your kitchen. As long as you’re working with the core ingredients (for this recipe, pasta, prosciutto, olive oil), there’s no way it’s going to taste bad! 

I started off by cooking/frying some prosciutto in a pan with olive oil. I love prosciutto so much and basically subsided on it as my main form of protein while abroad. If you haven’t tried prosciutto, I highly recommend it. If you like pork, you will love prosciutto. Prosciutto is just that good.

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However, this recipe requires you to get prosciutto really crispy, so you could totally substitute bacon for this part, if that’s what you have/prefer. Once it starts to get kind of bubbly, you should remove it from the pan and let it cool off/rest on a paper towel. The prosciutto will continue to shrink once it’s moved to the paper towel. I like really crispy bacon, so I cooked mine longer than they do in the video and that’s why it really resembles bacon in the picture below. But if you like your bacon at average crispiness, I would recommend that you remove the prosciutto from the pan after the prosciutto starts to crisp and shrink up.

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From there, I added some baby portobello mushrooms to the pan. I cooked the mushrooms in the same oil that I cooked the prosciutto in because the prosciutto left behind some of its fat and flavor in the oil. 

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I added about a tablespoon of butter to give the mushrooms a nice brown color. As soon as they browned, I added about a half an onion and three cloves of garlic. Because how can you possibly cook an Italian meal without garlic?

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I cooked everything together for a few more minutes and then added a cup of chicken stock.

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While I let everything marinate in the pan, I added some dried fettuccine to boiling water. It’s important to stick with dried pasta for this part because dried pasta has a longer cooking time than fresh pasta and that will give us enough time to finish cooking the pasta in the sauce! 

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Once the pasta was about a few minutes away from being al dente, I used tongs to transfer the pasta from the boiling water to the pan. I also added a cup of the starchy, boiling water to the sauce to help the sauce take on a thicker consistency. This is something you can do with pretty much any sauce to make it thicker without actually adding any ingredients!

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I then continued to use the tongs to mix the pasta into the sauce. The recipe calls for this to be done in a dutch oven, but I don’t have one at school (I wish I did!) and I feel like it was definitely doable in a really big pan. 

Once I had mixed the the pasta and sauce together for a few minutes, I noticed that the pasta was finally cooked al dente. At that point, I added a little bit of cream to the pan and continued to mix everything together.

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I stirred this for about one minute before crumbling up half of the crispy prosciutto and adding it to the pan. You don’t want to do this until you’re ready to serve it because the prosciutto will become soggy in the sauce if it sits too long. 

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I quickly mixed half of the prosciutto into the pasta and then divided it up into bowls. I sprinkled the remainder of the prosciutto on top of the pasta.

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Buon appetito!! This was delicious! While I wasn’t able to do this in 20 minutes like the video said, it definitely didn’t take me much longer to make!

Blog Reflection and Analytics:

Food has always been one of my biggest passions in life. It has always been something that has united my family together and given us something to talk about. I grew up watching (and trying to help!) my grandma and aunts make classic Italian dishes. My grandma’s ravioli is something I haven’t and won’t ever try to make on my own! When I was in fourth grade, I would come from school and watch the Food Network everyday. I made food seem like so much less of a mystery to me. I loved how so many unique recipes could be made from such simple ingredients. I also loved watching shows like Good Eats and learning about foods and dishes from other cultures.

This love of food followed me throughout high school and college, however, I feel like I really fell in love with food and cooking in a whole new way after studying abroad in Perugia, Italy. I mean, how could I not? Farmers, chefs, store owners poured their heart and soul into their food. Every food and dish came with a story. They didn’t just want to sell you something; they wanted to teach you something, to show you something. Things as simple as pasta and olive oil were tied to thousands of years of history and legend. In Italy, it seemed as if food could cure the world. It was inspirational and, honestly, very moving.

I started this blog with a focus on Italian food because I 1.) love Italian food and 2.) wanted to try to capture some of that magic I found while abroad. I really enjoy writing this blog and I hope that some of you enjoy reading it, too.

I don’t think my blog appeals to a very clear demographic. While I think most food blogs are targeted to the post-college age range, I think mine appeals to college students (mainly because I am a college student) and college graduates. However, I don’t think I necessarily appeal to one gender more than another. But, I would love your feedback. Who do you think I appeal to the most on this site?

When looking at my analytics on WordPress, I was very surprised to see that I had gotten a little bit of international traffic on my site.

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I also saw that a lot of traffic was redirected from some other #SMPASocial sites, so a special shoutout and thank you for that!

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I found that my blog generally received the most views on Wednesdays (before we have comments due), which I expected to see based on my own commenting patterns.

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I did, however, receive the most weekly views on my blog during the last week of January, which I did not expect.

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In fact, my number of weekly views has decreased over the course of the semester, so I have proposed these solutions to boost engagement on my site:

  1. Tweet new blog posts out with the #SMPASocial hashtag every week to make it easier to find my new posts
  2. Begin sharing my posts on my personal Facebook page
  3. Boost my own engagement with other food blogs by liking/commenting on at least 5 food blogs every week

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Making “The Most Luxurious Weeknight Pasta”

  1. Marissa Dever says:

    Your posts always make the recipes you share seem so easy! I’m always looking for easy food to keep me from getting bored with the same old frozen Trader Joe’s food. Honestly, I can see myself returning to your blog past the class to find something good to make! I think you really have managed to capture some of that magic that you found while you were abroad! Congrats!

    Like

  2. karlasexpression says:

    Hello, first of all, your blog made me soo hungry. It looks very delicious. I loved that you posted pictures for every step you took. I am also a huge fan of food videos, but I never actually did one of those recipes. Your post inspired me! Also, the demographics on your site was very interesting. It is very surprising to see that people from many other countries visited your blog. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

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