Italian Asparagus Pilaf


1 bunch (500 g) asparagus (preferably thin)
1½ cups tomato sauce
2½ cups water
2 large tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 large garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
2 cups long grain rice
1 cup prosciutto, torn into 1/2 inch strips
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Makes 6 servings.

  • Wash asparagus, snap off tough ends, cut into 1 inch pieces, cook about 1 to 2 minutes, drain and set aside. 
  • In a large saucepan heat oil over medium heat and add onion. cook about 1 to 2 minutes. 
  • Add rice stir and cook about 1 to 2 minutes. 
  • Mix together tomato sauce and water and add to rice. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook about 15 to 20 minutes. 
  • Stir in tomato pieces, garlic, parsley, salt and ground black pepper to taste. Cover and continue to cook 5 to 7 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. 
  • Serve immediately with prosciutto strips and grated Parmesan.

Real Cooking

Did You Know?
Prosciutto is the Italian word for ham. In English, the term prosciutto is almost always used for a dry-cured ham that is usually sliced thin and served uncooked; this style is called prosciutto crudo in Italian and is distinguished from cooked ham, prosciutto cotto.

The most renowned and expensive legs of prosciutto come from central and northern Italy, such as those of Parma, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and San Daniele.

The process of making prosciutto can take anywhere from nine months to two years, depending on the size of the ham.

Cooked rice can contain Bacillus cereus spores, which produce an emetic toxin when left at 4°C to 60°C. When storing cooked rice for use the next day, rapid cooling is advised to reduce the risk of toxin production.