Dinner Tonight: Cheese Curd, Asparagus, and Prosciutto Pasta Salad

Dinner Tonight

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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Cheese curds are tricky little guys. While they might be all squeaky and salty when fresh, they can easily turn to rubber if too cold, or melt into goo when warmed. What to do? The trick I used here was to toss them in a warm pasta salad, so that the heat from the boiled noodles heats them just to the point where they become pliable and flavorful. Since not all people are blessed with a good source of fresh cheese curds, you can sub in fresh mozzarella if you'd like. Still, there's something about the chewy texture of the curds that can't be beat.

Of course, one can't live on cheese curds alone. To help lighten things up, I added in a bunch of asparagus. Not wanting to deal with another pot on the stove, I tossed the spring vegetable in the pasta pot with a couple minutes left on the timer. The stalks came tender, but still with a bit of snap to them. A basic olive oil and lemon dressing accented with fresh mint tied everything together.

Oh, and at the last minute, I decided this needed to be a bit more substantial, so I added in some prosciutto. Fortunately, the slices are best when added on top at the very end.

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Cheese Curd, Asparagus, and Prosciutto Pasta Salad ยป