At Christmastime it's hard to know what to shop for - and cook - for those meals in between the parties, the main event and the in-front-of-the-telly buffets. For some bizarre reason we all feel obliged to stock up on massive tins of chocolates, fizzy drinks, boxes of crackers - and of course vast amounts of Brussel's sprouts. What I suggest is that, when you do your Christmas food shopping you consider getting some really high quality deli goods, which you can use in a number of ways, either for picking at in front of the telly in aforementioned buffet style, or to create a decent meal with. Here I have used some seriously top drawer ingredients to create a deli pasta, which is so special that it's quite suitable for a Christmas get together.
The lovely people at extremely posh and gorgeous Italian food website Ufuud asked me if I would like to have some free goodies from their online store. Well, it'd be rude not to! I chose a huge hunk of Parma ham, some linguine and pecorino and, along with some artichokes preserved in olive oil that I happened to have in, I created this simple but sophisticated pasta dish. What's great about these ingredients is that they keep for ages, and you can knock up a delicious pasta with them in minutes that still has wow factor. When you have such special ingredients it is vital that you keep it simple, so that's what I've done here, simply heating them and tossing them through al dente linguine.
The Ufuud guys are so lovely that they even gave me some vouchers to pass on to my readers... to enter: Like my page on Facebook, Share the competition, and Comment underneath the Facebook post to be in with a chance of winning £50 in vouchers to spend on their website - plus a very special extra prize that is top secret.
Competition closes at the end of the week, 19th December, at midnight. The winner will be picked at random and notified on Facebook so keep an eye out once you have entered.
Serves: 3-4 people (2 adults and 2 kids)
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 12 minutes
300g linguine (I use 100g per adult, 50g per child)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
75g parma ham, cut into strips or chunks
280g jar of sliced artichoke hearts in oil
50g pecorino, grated
Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- Put a large pan of water on to boil. Add a little salt and when boiling angrily add the pasta.
- Whilst the pasta is cooking, heat some olive oil in a pan, add the sliced garlic and warm through. Don't let the garlic colour. Add the parma ham and gently heat through. Now for the artichokes. Be gentle - you want them to keep their shape.
- Season with just black pepper, as the meat and cheese are both salty.
- Reserve a half mugful of water and drain the pasta. Add the linguine to the artichoke hearts and ham. Toss well, adding a splash of water to loosen the pasta. Throw in a handful of fresh parsley and toss again. Serve with lots and lots of grated pecorino.