Asparagus Wraps with Prosciutto & Marinated MozzarellaHere’s a recipe where inelegance lets you seem elegant. The “Asparagus Wraps with Prosciutto & Marinated Mozzarella,” from the April 2013 issue of Cuisine at Home, are easy to assemble and are fantastic to eat (recipe below). Your energies will be spent on marinating your mozzarella slices (with bottled dressing), hands-off roasting of asparagus, easy-to-roll flour tortillas, and skillet frying. You’ll be proud of these beauties and your diners will do the “Wow” thing.

Asparagus Wraps with Prosciutto & Marinated Mozzarella
Cuisine at Home, April 2013
Makes 4 servings (4 wraps)

For the Mozzarella, Whisk:
1/2 cup purchased Italian salad dressing
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced (into at least 8 slices)

For the Asparagus, Toss:
1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and black pepper

For the Wraps, Brush:
4 flour tortillas (8-inch)
12 thin slices prosciutto (6 oz.)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

For the mozzarella, whisk together Italian dressing and Dijon, then pour over mozzarella slices in a shallow dish. Turn mozzarella to coat with marinade. Set mozzarella aside to marinate while preparing asparagus.

For the asparagus, toss spears with oil and season with salt and pepper; transfer to a baking sheet. Roast asparagus until crisp-tender, 8-10 minutes.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high.

For the wraps, brush inside of each tortilla with marinade, then top with 2-3 slices marinated mozzarella, 3 slices prosciutto, and a quarter of the asparagus. Tightly roll up wraps; brush outsides with marinade. Brown wraps in hot skillet until golden and mozzarella slightly melts. Remove wraps and slice in half on the bias.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Fava Bean & Potato SoupAs a farewell to fresh fava-bean season, I also made the “Fava Bean and Potato Soup” from the May/June 2013 issue of La Cucina Italiana (recipe below).

Fava Bean and Potato Soup
La Cucina Italiana,
May/June 2013

Serves 6

About 5 lbs. fava beans (to yield 1 lb. peeled beans)
3 Tbsp. olive oil + more for garnish
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
8 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup cream
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese + more for garnish

Shell fava beans. To skin them, blanch in a large pot of boiling water for 2 minutes, then transfer to ice water.

When cool, drain and pinch open thick skin of each bean. Peeled beans will slip out easily. After skinning, you should have about 1 lb. of peeled beans.

Heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large pot over moderate heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and beans. Sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Add broth, bring to a simmer, and simmer until potatoes and beans are very soft, about 20 minutes. Add cream, season with salt and pepper, and simmer 5 minutes longer. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese. Purée soup in a blender or food processor.

Serve in warm bowls. Top each portion with a drizzle of oil, a sprinkle of Parmesan, and a slice of Italian bread.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

The ingredient list is short, yet pacing was important, here. After all, there were 5 lbs. of fava beans to painstakingly shell, blanch, and peel. But, it’s a last hurrah, after all.

Now listen: my vegetable broth is brown (whose isn’t?). Therefore, my soup took on a putrid grey color (nothing like the pleasantly green and yellow soup picture you see from the magazine here). I couldn’t include Dave’s photo with my post, because my soup looked too much like a bowl of sewage. Oh well. But know this: my soup was sweet and smooth at the end, just like a good pea soup. And what’s not to like about that?

PRICES:
Mozzarella (8 oz.) = $3.75
Asparagus (1 lb.) = $4.94
Prosciutto (6 oz.) = $11.82
Fava Beans (5 lbs.) = $9.45
Onion (1) = .47¢
Yukon Gold Potatoes (1 lb.) = .57¢

PREP TIMES: enjoy the tortilla rolls after 30 minutes of marinating, roasting, frying; shucking fava beans always takes a long time, and the soup prep and cooking will take another hour
TASTES:
sweet roasted asparagus, creamy mozzarella, and the salty kick of prosciutto are winners wrapped up together in a pan-fried tortilla; fava bean and potato soup is sweet and satisfying, even if you don’t bother to blend each component separately

Next time, I want to show you a pickle showcase. Last summer, I was so proud and excited about my “Quick Dill Pickles.” I’m ready for more pickle fun! I’ll make the “Asparagus Pickles,” from the April 2013 issue of Food & Wine, and I’ll make the “Rose and Raspberry Pickled Beets,” from the June 2013 issue of Cooking Light. This will be so thrilling. Come back to my site next week to see it all.