Yes, those piggies were my husband and I. The other day we were lucky enough to go on an adult field trip to the Philadelphia Italian Market. I say adult because there were no kiddies in tow so we could take our time and look at meat, cheese and produce as long as we liked. The Italian market is the oldest and largest working outdoor market in the US. I should have taken more pictures of the outdoor market but will do that next time I am there. It is predominantly Italian but in recent years has taken on a Hispanic and Asian presence. Not only can you get Italian ingredients but many other international delicacies as well.
We bought some fresh produce at one of the outdoor produce markets. Next it was time to go to one of the spice shops that the market has. We went to Spice Corner and I purchased some wonderful dried herbs. My favorite was some Greek seasoning which was only $1.59 for 2 ounces. The seasoning was so fresh and fragrant.
Next we moved on to my favorite store in the market. DiBruno Bros has been around since 1939. It started as a small cheese shop but now is a gourmet market with two Philadelphia locations. I just love, love, love going here. They have the best cheese, olives and Italian meats. Did I say I love the cheese? They also ship to anywhere in the US so you can browse their website and place an order. We purchased some Locatelli Pecorino Romano and some fresh ricotta.
Here is a picture of their cured meats. How about paying $129.99 for a pound of ham? I am sure it is fantastic but we went with the $27.99 Jamon Serrano Spanish prosciutto. It was delicious and melted in your mouth. The nice people at DiBruno Bros even gave us a taste.
I took my fresh ingredients home and thought about what to make. I decided to go with pasta since I had a box of fresh spaghetti sitting in the fridge. The cheeses and ham would be great on the pasta and I would pick fresh herbs right out of my garden. The pasta was a meal that just shouted freshness.
It doesn't end with our trip to the market. When I called us piggies, I meant it. The hubby and I decided to have a cheese steak chow down. Since we were near two of the most famous cheese steak places in Philly, we purchased one from each and decided which we liked best. Come back to hear all about it!
Herbed Spaghetti with Peas, Ricotta and Crispy Serrano Ham
1 lb fresh spaghetti
2 Tbs olive oil
4 oz thinly sliced Serrano ham, chopped
4 cloves crushed garlic
1o oz package frozen peas
¼ cup white wine
2 TBS fresh chopped basil
2 TBS fresh chopped parsley
8 oz fresh ricotta
1 to 2 cups reserved pasta water
lots of grated Romano cheese
salt and red pepper to taste
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook spaghetti until ala dente. In a large fry pan, heat oil on medium and cook ham until crisp, about 7 minutes. Set aside on paper towels. Saute garlic for 2 minutes and then add peas and white wine to pan. Cook until no longer frozen. Add parsley, basil and ricotta cheese. Add one cup of pasta water and stir constantly until sauce is creamy. In a large bowl, toss together spaghetti , creamy sauce, crispy ham and a large handful of Romano cheese. Add extra pasta water to thin out if necessary. Serve with more Romano cheese and season with salt and red pepper to taste.