Hot off her feature in The New York Times, Chef Vicki Caparulo, taught a refreshing summer class last week called Light, Quick and Easy Summer Pastas. She highlighted recipes that you can serve hot or cold and often make ahead of time, which is a perfect time saving option if you are looking for a quick dinner or good picnic options.

Chef Vicki noted that offering pasta as a primi appetizer can often take the pressure off a dinner party host since one pound can serve 16 people. Follow it with grilled fish and a salad and you’ve got an easy, no-stress summer menu!

Below is a recipe from her class that was a crowd favorite.

Penne with Arugula and Prosciutto
Yields: serves 4

1 pound penne rigate (ridged)
¼ pound thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 pound baby arugula
2/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
¾ teaspoon lemon zest
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Bring a large post of cold water to a boil for pasta.

When the water comes to a boil, add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. When the water returns to a boil, cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta.

Return the pasta to the pot, add the prosciutto, arugula, cheese, zest, and salt and pepper to taste and toss. Drizzle the oil over the pasta and toss again, adding some of reserved cooking water if pasta seems dry.

Serve immediately.

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