1 cup water
2 cups milk
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 cups dry pasta, any variety you like
½ cup or 60 grams smoked ham, cut into thin shreds or small chunks
½ cup grated Mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon Italian spice
Salt and black pepper to taste
In a saucepan, boil the water, milk and garlic. Add the pasta and the shredded smoked ham. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until pasta is almost done.
When pasta is cooked al dente, no need to drain. Just add the remaining ingredients, mix well and cook a further 2 minutes.
Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and/or fresh black pepper. Enjoy!
Sadly, I have run out of store-bought Italian Spice. None of the Western food sections of the local supermarkets here in Kunming, Yunnan Province, of the People’s Republic of China carry it. So what do cooks do these days besides go to their cookbook selves…Google for recipes online!
For those of us who live in places where Western foods are not readily available, the internet has become a life saver. Not only can you find recipes but if you have a VPN service (because the Great FireWall of China is alive and well and stopping us from viewing whatever only content we choose. One needs a VPN to survive Facebook, WordPress, all blogs (and anything even mildly controversial). You can even watch cooking videos. I recently looked at videos for how to make such unavailable items as sour cream, ricotta cheese and buttermilk, to name just a few.
I digress. Last night I googled several recipes for homemade Italian Spice and came up with a variety of choices. I realized that making Italian Spice was not an exact science. So here’s my recipe and you can follow it to the ‘t’ or add or subtract in any combination, completely at your own whim or taste, or because of spices you have or don’t have in your kitchen spice rack:
INGREDIENTS (T=tablespoon, tsp.=teaspoon):
3 T marjoram
3 T basil
3 T oregano
3 T parsley
2 T thyme
2 T rosemary
2 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
1 T paprika
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
In a bowl or the bowl of your food processor, mix all of the ingredients.
Ground together with a mortar and pestle, use the back of a spoon to crush and mix together, or blend in the food processor.
The aroma is splendid, you know the ingredients are fresh and you can customize to suit your particular taste. If I weren’t feeling a little lazy today, I make some sauce! Enjoy!