Pasta alla Chitarra with Burrata-Speck-Pea Sauce

Nancy Silverton, of Mozza fame, is a culinary idol of mine, and she makes an appetizer with burrata, speck, and peas in "The Mozza Cookbook." This sauce is a pasta homage to her dish, to spring, and to the old-world Italian combination of peas, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and prosciutto. The big flavors and bold ingredients will overpower a wispy, lithe noodle, so thing textured and craggy, such as farfalle or fusilli, when deciding on a pasta pairing for this one. Labneh is just yogurt that has been drained to remove the whey, resulting in a thick and tangy cream. If you can't find it, substitute drained whole milk yogurt.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 20 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

12 ounces pasta alla chitarra, fresh or dried

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 small shallot, julienned

3 ounces speck (about 10 thin pieces), each piece sliced into 1/4-inch strips (can substitute prosciutto)  

2/3 cup freshly shelled English peas

1/2 cup labneh

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice  

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

1 1/2 cups hot, starchy pasta water

30 sugar snap peas, stringy ends removed, sliced on the bias into 1/4-inch pieces

One 8-ounce tub burrata cheese (2 balls), drained

1/2 cup pea sprouts or tender vines of young peas (optional)  

Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Q.B. (optional)  

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Fry the shallot for 2 minutes, then add the speck and fry for 2 minutes more. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the peas, labneh, lemon juice, salt, pepper, mint, and 1 cup of the pasta water. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and toss immediately with pasta and half of the sugar snap peas.  
  3. One minute before serving, pour the remaining 1/2 cup hot pasta water over the burrata balls. Plate the pasta and top with the remaining sugar snap peas. Gently remove the burrata from the hot water and tear each ball in half using your hands. Place half a burrata on top of each serving of pasta along with the pea sprouts (if using). Top with the Parmigiano, if desired.  
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