Monday, September 29, 2008

THE BEST Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

The other night, I had a craving for a chocolate chip cookie. I didn't have the ingredients I needed to make my usual stand-by cookies, but then I remembered seeing Katie's "Undisputed Best Chocolate Chip Cookies" recipe on her blog, Good Things Catered. I mean, what recipe isn't amazing with a title like that?!? Plus, these cookies are right out of the ATK test kitchens, so you know they'll be great!

After deciding on a recipe, I threw on my apron, got my mixer ready (a.k.a. Black Betsy) and went to work. And let me just tell you...these cookies ARE amazing! They are think, chewy, chocolately, and down-right fabulous. They are the best right out of the oven...but watch out...they don't last long! ;) My craving for a chocolate chip cookie turned into a craving for several!

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen

2 cups plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & cooled until warm
1 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 large egg plus
1 yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

-Adjust oven racks to upper & lower-middle positions & heat oven to 325. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
-Whisk dry ingredients together; set aside.
-With electric mixer, or by hand, mix butter & sugars until thoroughly combined.
-Beat in egg, yolk and vanilla until combined.
-Add dry ingredients & beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in chips.
-Roll scant 1/2 cup dough into ball. Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving ample room between each ball.
-Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft & puffy (about 17-20 minutes)
-Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking and place on wire rack to cool.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lavash Crackers w/Sun-Dried Tomato Spread

***This month's Daring Bakers Challenge was a great one. I was happy to see that we had a savory dish for a won't find any buttercream, ganache, or cake in this post! This month's hosts were Natalie from Gluten a Go Go and Shelly from Musings From the Fishbowl. Thanks ladies for a wonderful challenge!

This month, we had to come up with a vegetarian spread/dip to go along with the lavash crackers. We were given complete creative liberty when it came to the spread, as long as it was vegan.

When given the option, there are 3 ingredients that I love incorporating into recipes: Chocolate, Coffee, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes! So naturally, I thought fresh basil and sun-dried tomatoes would make an awesome combination here.

I added chopped fresh basil to the cracker dough after the 90 minute rise...I simply kneaded it into the dough. Once I had the crackers ready to go into the oven, I brushed the tops with sun-dried tomato infused olive oil from the jar, and topped them off with a little coarse sea salt. Yum!

The recipe for the spread is at the bottom of this post, along with a link to a helpful video. It was delicious! The fresh garlic really added a nice flavor, and I always love sun-dried tomatoes. Enjoy!***

Lavash Crackers
Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers
* 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe)
* 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt* 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
* 1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar
* 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil
* 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature
* Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.

2. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see for a discription of this) and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.


2. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), and slightly tacky. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).

4. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors.


4. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Lay out two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the cracker dough in half and then sandwich the dough between the two sheets of parchment. Roll out the dough until it is a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. Slowly peel away the top layer of parchment paper. Then set the bottom layer of parchment paper with the cracker dough on it onto a baking sheet.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) Be careful with spices and salt - a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.

6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).

7. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.

Sun-dried Tomato Spread
2 cans tomato paste
2 tablespoons fresh basil
1 clove crushed garlic
3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt

Wash and dry some basil. Use about 4 to 6 leaves to make two tablespoons. Put the basil in the mixer. Next add 1 clove of crushed garlic.

Take your sun dried tomatoes of their container and drain out some of the oil. Measure 3/4 of a cup of tomatoes and add them into the mixer. Add a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt.

Put on your lid and turn on the mixer. You want to aim for a medium consistency that looks like it will be easy to spread with a knife. You may need to stop mixing and use your scraper to take food off of the sides. If the spread seems thick, slowly add 1/2 a cup of olive oil.

Scoop your spread out of the mixer and place into a service dish or storage container. Be sure to refrigerate it if you are not serving it right away. This is a lovely spread to bring to a party or to have at a picnic.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Red Berry Macarons & Europe!

***So, I just had to give the macarons another shot. After all, practice makes perfect, right? These came out really pretty...I plan to continue my quest for the perfect macaron, though. My macaron skills still need improvement! I found a yummy-looking recipe over on Tartelette for Red Berry Macarons. You can find the recipe HERE. The cream cheese buttercream and berry jam combination is simply divine!

You may have noticed that I've made several posts lately that include French cuisine. That's because Brad and I will *hopefully* be going to Europe at the beginning of the year. I am SO stinkin' excited, that I can hardly stand it!!! We'll be taking 2 weeks to travel throughout several different countries...France, Germany, and Italy.

Brad's aunt & uncle are living in Germany right now...his uncle is in the military and is stationed at Ramstein Air Force Base. They are so sweet and have invited us to stay with them for a few days while we're over there. I'd love to go see some of the castles in Germany.

So far, my international travel has been limited to Mexico and the Bahamas....never to Europe! If everything works out, we'd love to visit Paris, Germany, Venice, and Rome. We don't have an itinerary set in stone yet...we have an awesome travel agent (visit Travel Planners before your next vacation!) and just really started researching things. Paris is a must, though...we will definitely be going there. As a result, expect to see some yummy Parisian recipes coming up...most likely from the Williams-Sonoma: Paris cookbook mentioned in the post below.

I'd love to hear from you if you've been to Europe (or live there!). I need all the tips and advice that I can get!

Au Revoir!...that reminds me, I need to brush up on my French, German and Italian...oh my!!***
Before going into the oven...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Steak with Shallot Sauce (Onglet Aux Echalottes)

***I was walking the aisles of HomeGoods the other day, when my eyes alighted on this fabulous cookbook...Williams-Sonoma: Paris. I immediately grabbed it up and started flipping through the pages. The beautiful thing about this book is all the photographs...and they aren't all of food. The pages are filled with gorgeous photos that transport you to the streets of Paris. Now I want to go more than ever! Oh, J'aime Paris!

This recipe for Steak with Shallot Sauce actually made it onto the cover of this cookbook. It looks scrumptious, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I'm sure glad that I did!

I did make just a few slight changes to the original recipe. First, I went to 2 grocery stores looking for shallots...I couldn't find the first one! I was disappointed, but I knew that onions would make a fine substitute. Second, I couldn't find the particular cut of meat the recipe calls for, so I just bought NY strips...they worked just fine! And finally, I have yet to perfect the method of cooking a steak indoors. I always end up with a smoky kitchen and steaks that could have been better. So, I grilled the steaks outside on the gas grill. Once the sauce was just about finished, I added the steaks to the sauce and simmered for just a few minutes before serving.

And with that my friends, bon app├ętit!!!***

Steak with Shallot Sauce
Onglet Aux Echalottes
4-6 onglets or hangar steaks (I used NY strips), 8-12 oz each, trimmed of most fat and lightly marbled if possible, at room temperature
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil for brushing
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
12 shallots, about 3/4 lb total weight, thinly sliced
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 cup beef stock

Pat the steaks dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper, and brush lightly with olive oil.

Heat a large, heavy nonstick frying pan over high heat until very hot. Cook the steaks until browned and slightly crusty on the first side, 45-60 seconds. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook the steaks for 2 - 4 minutes longer on each side, depending on the thickness. To test for doneness, press your finger firmly against one of the steaks; the rarer the meat, the more soft and fleshy it will feel. If desired, make a small cut in the meat to check the color. Transfer the steaks to a platter and cover looselly with aluminum foil. (The steaks will continue to cook slowly as they rest).

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Melt 1 1/2 tbsp. of the butter in the pan. Add the shallots and saute until golden brown, 5-7 minutes. Add the wine, raise the heat to high, and cook, stirring, until the liquid is almost evaporated, 5-6 minutes. Add the stock and cook until the shallots are very tender and the liquid is reduced to a flavorful sauce, 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining 1 1/2 tbsp. butter.

Transfer the steaks along with any accumulated juices to individual plates. Spoon the shallots and sauce over the steaks. Serve at once.

Source: Williams-Sonoma: Paris Cookbook

Friday, September 19, 2008

Parsleyed Potatoes with Saffron

***Here's another super simple side dish. I served this with "Steak with Shallot Sauce", which I will post tomorrow. It's always fun to use saffron, and I really like the taste it adds to dishes...very unique!***

1 1/2 lb small red potatoes (preferably 1 1/2 inches in diameter; 20 to 24), peeled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Small pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Steam potatoes in a steamer rack, covered, over boiling water until tender, 18 to 20 minutes.
Melt butter with saffron in a medium skillet over medium heat until it foams, then add potatoes, parsley, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook, shaking skillet to coat potatoes well, until heated through, about 1 minute.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

White Asparagus with Brown Butter Sauce

***I needed a quick side dish the other night, and I saw this recipe right on the white asparagus package. It sounded pretty simple (and it was!), so I gave it a try. This was my first time cooking with white asaparagus. I don't know what I was expecting, but it was really tasty! Brad and I try to eat really healthy, so next time I'll probably find a recipe that doesn't use butter and bread crumbs...but hey, it was a nice change.***

12 white asparagus spears, peeled & trimmed to 6" lengths
Salt & fresh ground pepper
2 ounces butter
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

In a medium saucepan, bring salted water to a boil. Cook the asparagus for 10-12 minutes, until tender. Drain the asparagus and set aside.

In a large saute pan heat the butter. Add the breadcrumbs and saute until golden. Add the reserved asparagus and saute until well coated with browned butter and bread crumbs.

Sprinkle with parsley, season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fresh Fig & Walnut Cookies

***These cookies are really unique. Not only are they made with fresh figs and walnuts, but their consistency is almost like bread. That's right...I guess you could call them a "bready" cookie. Is that even a word? I don't think so...hah.

If you saw my Fresh Fig & Walnut Bread post a little bit down the page, this recipe is almost like a cookie version! They are delightfully scrumptious! I only wish that figs were in season all year long. However, I do have 2 loaves of the Fig Bread waiting in the freezer for us whenever we get a craving for it one of these fall days.

The only negative about these cookies is that they don't keep very good after the first 2 days or so. They are definitely the best right out of the oven!***

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup fresh figs, peeled, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a stand up mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream sugar and shortening and add beaten egg. In a medium-sized bowl, sift dry ingredients. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture, blending on low speed. Use a spatula to fold in figs and nuts. Drop by spoonfuls on greased sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container in the pantry for up to a week.

Source: Chef Mom

Monday, September 15, 2008

Grilled Pork Loin w/Apple-Cranberry Filling

UPDATE (9/29/08): I made this pork loin again a few days ago for a dinner party. However, this time I baked it in the oven instead of cooking it on the grill. I much preferred it in the oven, and it got rave reviews! The outside was more tender, and it was more moist overall. Just bake it at 325 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours...or until instant read thermometer reads 145 - 150 degrees.

***Okay ladies and gentlemen, I've officially found my favorite way to prepare a pork loin. This dish was a.m.a.z.i.n.g....and it didn't just taste good, but it made my entire house smell of sweet apples, cranberries, cinnamon, fresh ginger and apple cider...oh my goodness. It was like Yankee Candle

This would no doubt be the perfect holiday dish...or just the perfect way to welcome the fall season. I'm so happy that there are left-overs sitting in my fridge right now. The fact that its grilled makes this one even better.

This recipe made its way to me via iTunes of all places. I subscribe to the Cooks Illustrated Podcast, and this is the most recent video. HERE is a link to some very helpful notes for this recipe.

Did I mention that I loved this dish? LOL.***

From Cooks Illustrated:
"This recipe is best prepared with a loin that is 7 to 8 inches long and 4 to 5 inches wide. To make cutting the pork easier, freeze it for 30 minutes. If mustard seeds are unavailable, stir an equal amount of whole-grain mustard into the filling after the apples have been processed. The pork loin can be stuffed and tied a day ahead of time, but don't season the exterior until you are ready to grill."

1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1 large shallot , halved lengthwise and sliced thin crosswise (about 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 cups dried apples (packed), 4 ounces
1/2 cup dried cranberries (packed), 2 1/2 ounces
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds (see note above)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pork Loin
2 cups wood chips
2 1/2 pound boneless center-cut pork loin roast (see note above)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for cooking grate

1. FOR THE FILLING: Bring all ingredients to simmer in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until apples are very soft, about 20 minutes. Push mixture through fine-mesh strainer to extract as much liquid as possible. Return liquid to saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 5 minutes; reserve glaze. Meanwhile, pulse apple mixture in food processor until uniformly coarsely chopped, about fifteen 1-second pulses. Transfer filling to bowl and refrigerate while preparing pork.

2. FOR THE PORK: Soak wood chips in water for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cut meat to even 1/2-inch thickness. Season inside liberally with salt and spread apple filling in even layer, leaving 1/2-inch border. Roll tightly and tie with twine at 1-inch intervals. Season exterior liberally with salt and pepper.

3.Drain chips and place in small disposable aluminum pan. About 20 minutes before grilling, place pan with chips on primary burner (burner that will remain on during cooking); position cooking grate over burners. Turn all burners to high and heat with lid down for 15 minutes. Scrape and oil grate. Leave primary burner on high and turn off other burner(s). Place roast, fat-side up, on side opposite primary burner.
4. Grill-roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of roast registers 130 to 135 degrees, 55 to 70 minutes, flipping once halfway through cooking time. Brush roast with half of reserved glaze; flip and brush with remaining glaze. (You may need to reheat glaze briefly to make spreadable.) Continue to cook until glaze is glossy and sticky, about 5 minutes longer.
5. Transfer roast to cutting board, loosely tent with foil, and let rest for 15 minutes. (Internal temperature should rise to about 145 degrees.) Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices, removing twine as you cut. Serve immediately.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Espresso-Blackberry Macarons - Gourmet Magazine

***I was flipping through the most recent issue of Gourmet (a special issue about Paris), admiring all the Parisian cuisine when I spotted these macarons. Macarons are one of those things that I've always avoided because I just thought they would be too complicated...but this recipe is actually pretty simple! After reading the article, I was inspired to give these a try. I made half of them with blackberry jam, and I made a chocolate filling (recipe below) for the other half. When we make it to Paris one day (it just might be sooner than later...hopefully!) I want to visit some of the famous French Laduree, Pierre Herme, and Fauchon to name a few. And what trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to La Maison Du Chocolat? One day...

Now, these aren't the prettiest macarons that you'll ever see, but they were okay considering it was my first time making them. I am going to make them again very soon. I found THIS yummy looking recipe for Red Berry Macarons on Tartelette's blog that I just might tackle next. I want to perfect the macaron cookie...after reading some other blogs it seems like it might be a little difficult to make them rise perfectly...practice makes perfect, though!

Appr├ęciez cette recette!!!

From Gourmet:
"These cookies should set for a while before serving. The fillings help soften the meringue—and your patience will be rewarded with a wonderfully chewy texture.
For more recipes inspired by the City of Light, visit our Paris City Guide."
For macarons:
3 oz almond flour (2/3 cup) or blanched sliced almonds (3/4 cup) or slivered almonds (2/3 cup)
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon instant-espresso powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large egg whites, at room temperature 30 minutes
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
For filling
About 1/2 cup blackberry jelly

- a food processor with a sharp blade or an electric coffee/spice grinder
- a large pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch plain tip or a qt-size sealable bag with a corner snipped off
- an offset spatula

Make macaron batter:
Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Grind almond flour or almonds with confectioners sugar in food processor until powdery, 30 seconds for almond flour, about 2 minutes for almonds. (If using grinder, grind in small batches.) Sift through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl (if not fine enough for almost all of nuts to go through sieve, regrind). Sift again into a large bowl.

Stir together espresso powder and vanilla in a cup until powder has dissolved. (I used regular instant coffee granules, and heated the vanilla a little to help the granules completely dissolve.)

Beat egg whites with salt in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Beat in granulated sugar, a little at a time. Increase speed to high and beat until meringue holds stiff, glossy peaks, about 1 minute. Add espresso mixture and mix at low speed until incorporated. Fold meringue into almond mixture with a rubber spatula until completely incorporated. (Meringue will deflate and batter will be loose.)

Pipe and bake macarons:
Put small dabs of batter under corners of parchment to secure to baking sheets.
Spoon half of batter into pastry bag. Holding bag vertically just above baking sheet, pipe 1 1/2-inch-wide mounds of batter about 1 inch apart, stopping pressure and flicking tip sideways to avoid peaks (tamp down any peaks with a wet finger). Refill pastry bag and repeat. Let macarons stand, uncovered, at room temperature until a light crust forms, 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.

Bake macarons, switching position of sheets halfway through, until crisp and interior does not give easily when a macaron is gently pressed, 22 to 28 minutes total. Cool completely on baking sheets (for residual heat to harden bottoms) on racks, about 30 minutes. Loosen macarons from parchment with offset spatula (they will be fragile).

Assemble cookies:
Sandwich flat sides of macarons together with a thin layer of jelly.

Layer macarons between sheets of parchment in an airtight container and let stand at room temperature at least 2 hours to soften before eating.

Here's the recipe for the chocolate filling that I used:
Chocolate Filling:
Softened butter
Powdered sugar
Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used the Starbucks Mocha Powder)
Directions: Mix about 1 cup powdered sugar and several tablespoons cocoa powder together thoroughly. Beat into softened butter (about 3/4 stick), taste. You might have to adjust the measurements slightly...adding a little at a time to get your desired consistency. The measurements above are a good starting point.

Cooks’ note: Filled macarons can be kept in an airtight container wrapped in plastic wrap, chilled 2 days or frozen 1 month. Bring to room temperature in wrapped container (to avoid condensation), about 1 hour if chilled or 2 hours if frozen.

NOTE: If you have trouble removing the macarons from the parchment paper, put a thin layer of water between the parchment paper and cookie sheet (be careful not to let the cookies get wet!). This will loosen the paper from the cookies. Don't let the cookies sit on the water for too long...they will get soggy.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Pasta with Prosciutto & Peas

***This dish was delicious! I don't cook with prosciutto as much as I'd like to. The grocery store down the street doesn't always have it in stock, so I usually have to go to Whole Foods or The Fresh Market to get it....if I want good quality prosciutto, anyway! Brad isn't crazy about peas, but he actually liked this dish okay. The sauce is really great...but then again heavy cream always makes sauces***

Coarse salt and ground pepper
12 ounces fettuccine
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas, thawed
8 slices prosciutto (about 4 ounces total), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise, about 1 cup
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (optional)

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot.

Meanwhile, make sauce: In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat; add shallot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add cream, peas, and prosciutto; bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Simmer until peas are heated through, 3 to 4 minutes.

Stir in lemon zest and juice. Pour sauce over pasta; add Parmesan, and season generously with salt and pepper. Add enough reserved pasta water to thin sauce as desired. Serve immediately; top with additional Parmesan, if desired.