The other day Dawn and I went exploring all around Columbus looking for some different haunts and muses that we had yet to see. We went to some old favorites like North Market for the last outside market day and some other local shopping ventures before being pleasantly surprised by a visit to Carfagna's Italian Meat Market. As we walked in the door it had the ambiance of a tiny local grocer from back home with the smell of pork wafting through and a sense of personality that is often sought but never found at large grocers.
With the butchers' joking with a younger colleague about his date the prior evening and him desperately attempting to change subject, the personality was warming and specialized as we found excellent carnaroli arborio, small vintage Italian wines, and more meat varieties than I could name. I passed by rabbit saddles and marvelous double-smoked bacon making it a miracle we didn't spend a fortune. The Spanish chorizo definitely ended up in the basket as well as a pack of prosciutto chunks that I envisioned in a rich marinara sauce.
For some reason, maybe subconscious, the idea of baked pasta came to mind as I pulled the prosciutto out of the fridge. After preparing some macaroni noodles as it seems we have a surplus of them lately (still some of the pantry oath that is more or less a a loose guideline) and sauteing the onion and crushed garlic, I cleaned the pan out and crisped the thin sliced prosciutto to add some texture then the tomato paste and dry red wine to add needed richness to the dish. The way disparate ingredients become intermingled amazes me sometimes and this dish is no exception. The rich tomato and pork nature of the dish make it a quick week night winner that is sure to please.
1/2 # prosciutto chunks finely diced
3/4 # al dente macaroni noodles
1 small can tomato paste
1/3 C. middle-aged fontina or gruyere cheese (I used the homemade fresh milk cheese I had in the fridge)
1/3 C. mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp. anchovy paste
1/2 medium spanish onion finely diced
5 cloves diced garlic
4 T. olive oil for sauteing
1/3 C. dry red wine (such as chianti)
1/4 C. whole calamata olives
Preheat oven to broil. Saute onion and garlic for about 4 minutes or until slightly browned. Add tomato paste, olives, anchovy paste, and wine and cook until reduced but still thinner than desired consistency. Add cooked macaroni noodles, as I see these hold the sauce better, and stir the ingredients together in oven-proof skillet for a couple minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top and cook in oven on middle rack for 4 minutes or until cheese becomes bubbly and golden brown. Remove from oven, allow to cool at least 5 minutes, then slice into pie shapes, and enjoy.