Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Strozzapreti Pasta with Prosciutto and Zucchini

Only the Italians can come up with pretty risqué names for dishes.  Take the "putanesca" sauce, homage to Naples' ladies of the night. Also, the next time you are at your favorite pizzeria, why not order men's trousers or "calzone". In the tradition of baptizing food with quirky names, Italians have a knack for giving fun and inventive names to their pasta too: fedelini (Little Faithful), occhi di lupo (Wolf Eyes), orrechietti (Little Ears), radiatore (Radiators), vemicelli (Little Worms).  Today's recipe uses "strozzapreti", which translates as priest-strangler.   Go figure!  Just the name alone is worth giving this recipe a try, not to mention the crispy pieces of Parma prosciutto.

Strozzapreti Pasta with Prosciutto and Zucchini 
3 tablespoons extra virgin oil
4 thin slices Parma prosciutto, cut into pieces
400g fresh strozzapreti pasta
1 large sweet onion coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
3 small zucchini sliced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano (optional)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

In a large skillet, heat up the extra virgin olive oil and cook the prosciutto until crisp.  Set aside and in the same pan and sauté the onions and garlic.  Meanwhile, in a large pot with boiling salted water, add the pasta and cook according to the directions. Reserve some of the hot water when you drain the pasta.  Add the zucchini and oregano to the onions. Cook until al dente and add the white wine to deglaze the pan.  Return the prosciutto to the skillet and toss in the drained cooked pasta. Add some of the reserved water to the pasta if it is too dry. Grate a generous amount of parmesan cheese and toss. Plate the pasta and add extra parmesan if desired.


  1. Oh my that pasta is making me hungry. I love David Rocco's explanation of how the name Strozzapreti came about, it was quite funny. I just thought of one more Italian dish name that makes me smile-Tiramisu, also extremely delicious, a nice dessert after a fantastic pasta like the one above.

  2. Well that looks gorgeous! And where on earth do you find that kind of fresh pasta? Or did you make it yourself? Funny where names like that comes from!

  3. Ava, sometimes the simplest recipes are the best, and you can vary the ingredients as you see fit. Mark Bittman of the New York Times recently made his dish with prosciutto, peas and added Boston lettuce. Yes,I do remember that episode and it did make me laugh.

  4. Hi Susie, I don't know what happened to my initial response from this morning. I guess that's the wonder of computers, especially when under my tutelage. So to get back to your question,I actually discovered the pasta at Costco of all places. As for the names,it does make you wonder. It was great fun to stop and actually translate the different pasta names. Even I, as an Italian growing up on pasta, never gave the names a second thought.