Do you recall childhood peaches? When you were so young, you didn’t care about biting into a beautifully ripe one and letting the juices run down your chin and up your arms. Somewhere in the background, you heard your mother’s voice scolding you for getting your clothes all wet and sticky. But the peach was so good that her voice really didn’t register until after you’d wiped your hands – on those very clothes.
If you read this week’s Kitchen Call on WickedLocal.com, you’ll see that I’ve been elbow-deep in peaches, trying out far more recipes than space allowed. So the recipe below went on the back burner.
Available everywhere now, the best yellow peaches travel from California and the South. (Jersey and New England not ready yet.) Pick them up at the supermarket and leave them in a bowl on the kitchen counter top overnight. Once they reach that point of perfection, I store in the refrigerator so they don’t go all mushy. Then, I head back to the supermarket for another batch.
And at this time if year, when there are no farm fresh tomatoes in the Northeast, I substitute peaches in a caprese salad. With mozzarella and fresh basil. Sounds a little crazy. I thought so too, but there I was, desperate for a decent tomato and not a one in sight. But the peaches were perfect. So I took a chance and layered them on a platter with fresh basil leaves, slices mozzarella, really good olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, and coarse grained sea salt.
The mozzarella needs to be soft and creamy, not the rubbery kind on cheap takeout pizza. From the specialty (“fancy”) cheese section of the supermarket. Bring the cheese to room temperature, 15 minutes on the counter, so it’s soft, before slicing. (Dip the knife into hot water between slices.)
Once you’ve tried peaches as a savory, gone beyond breakfast and dessert, you may want to give this recipe a try. It cooks up in less than 15 minutes. And like the caprese above, it sounds a little bit crazy. But the peaches will not be wasted, you’ll want seconds.
PEACHES, PASTA, PROSCIUTTO
Makes 4 first course or 2 main course servings
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces prosciutto, sliced very thin, and cut into slivers
3 cups diced peaches, peeled or unpeeled
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons slivered basil leaves
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
8 ounces fettucine noodles
- Cook pasta slightly under package directions, about 2 minutes less.
- Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet on medium high heat. Add the prosciutto. Cook, stirring until barely crispy, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add remaining butter. When it melts, add the peaches. Cook, stirring, until the peaches start to break down but still keep some of their shape.
- Stir in cream and cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
- Drain the pasta, saving out about 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Put the drained pasta into the skillet with the peach mixture; toss gently until coated with the peach sauce. If the sauce does not spread easily, add some of the cooking water, a tablespoonful at a time.
- Add the basil, parmesan, and grind the black pepper over the top. Toss once more gently. And serve right away.