Yesterday, the fabled “bomb cyclone” hit the Colorado Front Range (and beyond). The hospital where I work shut down all non-essentials, and I was allowed to go home — which was an unprecedented, never-happened-before bonus. We’d already stocked up on the week’s groceries, so I got down to business in the kitchen.
“A snow day literally and figuratively
falls from the sky—unbidden—
and seems like a thing of wonder.”Susan Orlean
Snow days call for comfort food, so first, I attempted to replicate the Harissa Spiced Almonds that I’d had last week at The Kitchen (https://www.thekitchenbistros.com/location/boulder-colorado/), one of my favorite restaurants in Boulder. Relatively speaking, they’re healthy-ish, and a nice easy riff on a happy hour cocktail pairing.
Next, my new recipe of the week was this Pasta with Proscuitto and Mushrooms. Looks fancy, tastes fancy, but comes together quickly enough for a weeknight meal.
I have noticed Harissa cropping up in lots of dishes lately, and people ask, “What is that?” Answer: It’s a North African spice — a little heat (but not overwhelming) and a little warm (like the way that cinnamon has a “warm,” but not spicy, flavor). You can find it at well-stocked markets, or you can always order it online.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or grapeseed oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons Harissa
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups whole almonds
Heat oven to 350°F and arrange rack in the middle. Combine spices, salt, and almonds in a large bowl; then add the oil and honey so that you get an even coating of everything. Spread evenly in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. To make for easier cleanup, I suggest using parchment paper on the baking sheet.
Bake almonds, stirring every 5 minutes, until fragrant, golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly or to room temperature before serving. (The almonds will become crisper as they cool. Can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.)
Pasta with Proscuitto & Mushrooms
— Bon Appetit
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto (about 6 slices)
- 1 pound mixed mushrooms (such as chanterelles, maitake, oyster, crimini, and/or shiitake), torn into bite-size pieces
- 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, plus more for serving
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
- 12 ounces pappardelle or fettuccine
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. Arrange prosciutto in a single layer in pot and cook, turning once or twice, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
- Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in same pot over high. Cook mushrooms, tossing occasionally, until browned and tender, 5–8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add shallots and 1 tsp. thyme, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until shallots are translucent and softened, about 2 minutes. Add stock and reduce heat to low. Bring to a simmer and cook until only a thin layer of stock coats bottom of pot, 5−7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 3 minutes less than package directions.
- Using tongs, transfer pasta to pot with mushrooms and add 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Crumble half of prosciutto into pot. Increase heat to medium, bring to a simmer, and cook, tossing constantly, until pasta is al dente and liquid is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add cream, return to a simmer, and cook, tossing, until pasta is coated, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, add butter, and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt if needed.
- Divide pasta among bowls. Top with more thyme and crumble remaining prosciutto over; season with pepper.