This week’s recipe is one of my favourite dishes to make. It is comforting, delicious and pretty easy to put together. It is pasta a la Romana! There are many Italian restaurants in Montreal. It is a cuisine that is adored by many. Montreal has a very large Italian population and we also have a Little Italy. There are three hundred thousand Italians living in Montreal. Most of them immigrated back in the 1950’s and 1960’s. There were large waves of Italian immigrants coming to the “new world” in search for a better life. Italians in Montreal have done so much to preserve their culture and traditions. Most of them grow their own vegetable gardens, make their own tomato sauce and their own wine. They are proud to pass on these traditions through the different generations.
Montreal’s Little Italy is one of our favourite neighborhoods and one that we encourage our EC Montreal students to visit. It has the most wonderful restaurants, cafes, ice cream shops and boutiques. Every August, Little Italy hosts Italian Week. They showcase everything that Italians are famous for; music, fashion, food, opera, wine and art! There are performances in the parks and they always end the festival with an opera performance. It is an event that we look forward to every year. We usually go to our favourite restaurant in Little Italy, called Pizzeria Napoletana and we get pizza and pasta to go. We set up a picnic in the park and we can dine and watch the musical performances. It is a magical experience. The pizza we always get is called Pizza Trestevere that has prociutto and blue cheese and the pasta dish we always get is penne Romana. Since we will not be attending the festival this year, I will share my version of Penne Romana with you so you can enjoy it at home. I hope you can find a way to dine “al fresco” with a lovely glass of wine.
For my version of Penne Romana, you will need the following ingredients:
1 package of penne pasta
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 package of cubed prosciutto
1 cup of sliced white mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 green onions diced thinly
1/2 cup of white wine
1 tube of tomato paste
1/2 cup of cooking cream
salt and pepper to taste
A generous sprinkle of Parmesan cheese
In a deep saucepan heat the olive oil. Add the minced garlic and onions and cook until translucent. Add the cubed prosciutto and cook until lightly darkened. Add the white wine and scrape off any bits at the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat to medium and add the mushrooms. Next add the tomato paste and cook for five minutes. In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add your penne pasta and cook according to the package instructions. The next step is to add the cooking cream to the tomato sauce and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Add salt, pepper and chilli flakes to the sauce. You don’t need much salt as the prosciutto is salted.
When the pasta is cooked, strain it and add it to the sauce. Toss the pasta so it is completely covered in the delicious sauce. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the top and serve. You can serve this pasta with a light arugula salad and glass of wine.
We will be posting a copy of this recipe on Microsoft Teams where you can access your English and French online lessons.
We hope you will give the recipe a try and enjoy it on a warm summer evening in Montreal!