Basil Angelique Recipe

It is quite incredible how pasta noodles made from precisely the same ingredients, but shaped differently, can create different culinary sensations. Even among the straight noodles, such as spaghetti, the thickness of the noodle can make all the difference in the presentation and even taste of the dish. This recipe calls for angel hair pasta, and when you try the recipe, you'll find out how truly angelic pasta can be! This recipe serves four, by the way.

16 ounce angel hair pasta
1 12 ounce can of evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 tablespoon dried basil (or 2 tablespoons fresh)
dash pepper
1 cup fresh frozen peas
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 ounces thin sliced ham or prosciutto

In large saucepan set water (to prepare angel hair pasta) on medium-high heat. Set a 10 or 12-inch skillet on medium heat. Add butter and garlic. When butter has melted, pour in milk and continue to stir as you add in dried basil, pepper, and Parmesan Cheese. In a separate cup, mix corn starch with about 1/8 cup water. When sauce is lightly bubbling stir in corn starch to thicken. Add ham (thinly sliced and diced - deli ham is perfect for this) and the frozen peas. Turn down heat to simmer.

While waiting for the peas and ham to heat up in the sauce, cook angel hair pasta in boiling water as per instructions. Angel hair pasta reaches and passes "al dente" very quickly, so be sure to check it soon after it is poured into the boiling water. When noodles reach desired tenderness, remove from heat and strain in a colander.

Heap noodles on plate, ladle on sauce and serve!

Editorial note: some connoisseurs might gasp at my use of corn starch in this recipe. However, I have tried making basil angelique with a rue and was not happy with the result. (WJR)

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