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Pasta With Parma Ham & Pistachios

Serves 6 as a starter

1 small red chilli
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large shallots, finely chopped
6 large slices of Parma ham, cut into strips about 1.5cm wide
225ml cream
60g roughly ground pistachios, plus extra for serving
400g tagliatelle or linguine
freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

Note: Particularly for the final sprinkling, make sure that the pistachios are not too finely ground. This adds great texture when scattered over the pasta.

Remove the stalk from the chilli and split it in half. Chop the chilli into fine dice. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and add the chilli and chopped shallots. Cook for 1–2 minutes, until softened. Add the strips of Parma ham and toss for about 10 seconds. Add the cream and bring up to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for a few minutes. Add 3–4 rounded tablespoons of the ground pistachios to the sauce and simmer again for another minute or so. Set aside until ready to use.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. For about 4 litres of water, add 1 level tablespoon table salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a little of the pasta water, and return the pasta to the pot. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss until well coated. Add a dash of the pasta water to loosen the sauce and toss again.

When serving, sprinkle some roughly ground pistachios over the top and a generous dusting of freshly grated Parmesan.

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