ZITI WITH ASPARAGUS, Smoked Mozzarella, and Prosciutto
This is not merely everyday Italian, but Italian food in a flash. This dish would also work with penne, but definitely try to use one of these short tube shapes, which mimic the shape of the asparagus pieces and make for a beautiful presentation; with spaghetti, it’s just not the same.
Bring a Large Pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ziti and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the asparagus and cook until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, and the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain the pasta and asparagus, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the pasta, asparagus, ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and the 1 cup of reserved cooking liquid, and toss to coat. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the mozzarella, prosciutto, and basil and toss to combine. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the pasta to shallow bowls and serve.