Wedged in between a long day of conference sessions and fancy shindigs, Broderick and I were making our way through San Francisco in a taxi. Feeling more than a bit pressed to make our reservation, we hopped out of the car – only to realize that we were let off in the wrong spot. After a long day, the last thing you want to do is hoof it up the city’s signature hills…but we did. Finally, quite behind schedule, we were finally seated in the dark, wooden, cozy jewel box that is SPQR. It’s a meal I’d happily run blocks for over and over. It was tremendous – the wine, the service, and the pasta. Oh, the pasta. Incredible combinations of textures and tastes formed around a base of perfectly cooked pasta. I had this dish there that night and made a promise to myself I’d make it here at home to share with you all.
To say that poppy seeds in a pasta dish was an awakening for me would be a gross understatement. I’d never seen nor heard of such thing…and I ordered the dish solely based on my curiosity. I liked all of the other elements of the dish well enough – nutty pasta, slivers of green onions and salty prosciutto. However, it was the poppy seeds that sealed the deal. It’s so unique but the result is very familiar at the same time. The bite of the poppy seeds gives an almost breadcrumb-like bite to the dish & a visually appeal that is stunning. Best of all, it takes about as long to put this dish together as it does to boil water.
Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Prosciutto, Poppy Seeds & Green Onions – serves 4 as a small main course – recipe adapted from a dish at SPQR in San Francisco
– Start a large pot of salted water on to bring to a boil. While water is coming up to temperature, roughly chop the prosciutto into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Have your green onions and poppy seeds measured out and close at hand, as well, to assemble the dish. When the pasta is cooked al dente, reserve about 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid and drain the pasta.
– In a large saute pan, add your chopped prosciutto and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the butter and allow to melt. Once melted, add in the pasta and reserved cooking liquid. Toss thoroughly together and then add in the green onions and poppy seeds. Continue to toss together on medium-low heat for a minute or two to heat it all through together. At this point, grab a bite and taste for salt & pepper then adjust accordingly. Serve immediately.