Stay-at-Home, Eat-at-Home Tip #2: La Quercia

Every few days, I’m sharing ways in which I’m staying put and eating well during these times. Today’s tip:

La Quercia Prosciutto (and Other Delights)

Famed La Quercia prosciutto and other cured meats are made in Norwalk, Iowa, just down the road from where I live. When I ran out of prosciutto — and my scheduled once-every-two-week trip to the store was still a week away — I ordered a few packages from another online gourmet-food company.

A day later, I was talking to La Quercia owner Kathy Eckhouse, and she told me La Quercia now sells their meats directly from their website. See LaQuerciaShop.com.

[Forehead Smack]. D’oh! Had I known, I would have saved quite a bit — the online third-party retailer charges $12 for a package of the classic La Quercia Prosciutto Americana, which considering how much I love the stuff is money well spent. But because there is no middle-dude, La Quercia sells it for just $7.99 a package.

Why am I loving prosciutto right now? It’s versatile, it has a long shelf life in the fridge, and its flavor is so concentrated that a little goes a long way in cooking. Try it in this recipe got Prosciutto, Asparagus, and Goat Cheese Pasta (pictured below), and if you don’t have asparagus, substitute any veggie you have on hand (peas will work, as will spinach and just about anything green!) and any grating cheese at all for the goat cheese.

French Asparagus recipe: Pasta with Asparagus and Prosciutto. Find the recipe here.

Here is another recipe, which Kathy shared with me a while back: Pasta with Pancetta and Leeks. The leeks are optimal, but if you don’t have leeks on hand, substitute a combo of white onions and green onions, or yellow onions and parsley, or …. just anything oniony and maybe something green if you have it. You can order pancetta from La Quercia, but I’ve also made this with prosciutto, and it’s lovely, too.

Oh — and while you’re ordering the prosciutto and pancetta, for heaven’s sake, grab some ‘Nduja. This spicy prosciutto spread is amazing in so many ways.

Photo: Ellen Mary Cronin

I asked Kathy Eckhouse how she and her family enjoy ’njuda at their house. She offered these tips:

• Stuffed Dates Extraordinare: The Eckhouses’ favorite way to serve it is to stuff a little of the ’nduja into a pitted date; wrap the date with La Quercia pancetta, put it on an ovenproof tray, and bake it for five minutes at 350 degrees.

• Something Even Simpler: Kathy also enjoys simply serving it in a little crock alongside Rustic Bakery Olive Oil and Sea Salt Flatbread Bites.

• All Over the Place: “Spread on the inside of a grilled cheese sandwich before grilling/griddling. Toss into sauteed veggies or pasta near the end of cooking. Stir into an insipid pot of beans,” she added. “Plus, it’s pretty tasty on a baked potato.”

As for me, I especially enjoy it when I need a quick meal in a hurry. I toss cooked, drained pasta with some ’nduja (about one tablespoon per serving) plus olive oil, then serve in a shallow bowl with plenty of grated Italian cheese, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano. It’s about the best 10-minute entree I know of right now.

P.S.: According to Kathy ‘Nduja is pronounced “en-do-ya,” as in “en-do-ya love me?”

 

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