Creamy Prosciutto and Roasted Red Pepper Spinach Fettuccine

I frequently post on Facebook and Twitter what Chris and I are having for dinner. I love getting the oooo's and ahhhh's (it's very ego boosting). Cooking is my hobby and I look forward to the evening meal preparation. It's a great way for me to deflate and relax with a glass of vino and some groovy tunes. It's my 'me' time - I get to cook what I want and have fun and enjoy all the sensory stimuli.

This evening, I said to myself, "Andy, instead of just sharing the name of the food you're devouring, why not share an image? Torture them just a wee bit more? You'd enjoy that." I replied, "Yes. Yes, I would indeed."

So here's the start of the What's For Dinner Project. Once a week, I'll share a meal on the weekly meal plan. I would love to hear from those of you who reproduce it as well as the modifications you apply!

Here's tonight's dinner:

Hasselblad 503cw with 80mm f2.8 Imacon Ixpress v96c digital back - f5.6 @125th 50iso; 60" Softlighter II camera right with 1 stop diffusion material; bounce camera left


Creamy Prosciutto and Roasted Red Pepper Spinach Fettuccine

  • 1 large red pepper
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 lb fresh spinach pasta
  • 5 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 5 ounces prosciutto, cut 1/4 inch cubes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus extra, shaved for serving
  1. Preheat broiler for 5 minutes while preparing peppers. Cut peppers into wide strips and place on foiled rimmed tray and wire rack. Roast until skin is charred and black. Remove skin and slice pepper into thin strips. In a medium skillet, add 1 tsp of oil over med-low heat and sauté Prosciutto until cooked through and lightly sautéed. Add garlic, salt and pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, add remaining oil and cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 2 cups pasta water; drain pasta.
  3. Return empty pasta pot to medium-low heat. Add cream cheese and 1 cup pasta water; whisk until smooth. Add peppers and Prosciutto and cook until heated through. Gently fold in pasta.
  4. Thin the sauce to desired consistency with more pasta water and season pasta with salt and pepper. Save the water if you're going back for seconds!  It'll help you separate your portion.

The lighting recipe was fun-ner and just as delicious.  I used my large 60" softlighter II "Brella" camera right and placed a diffuser screen between it and the dish for additional softening just on the dish. A white reflector was placed on the left side to bounce a bit of light into the shadow areas.

What's nice about this setup is the diffusion material softened the light hitting the pasta just the right amount, but didn't touch any of the light hitting the background.  So the end result is, you have two different levels of light softeness in the photo.

Normally, you don't want to soften light in food shots, but in this case I wanted a natural feel (don't I usually?).  But, I didn't want a flat photo (who does?).  Introducing the diffusion screen gave me the kind of separation I wanted.  However, watch that the light is far enough back from the background, or the diffusion material will wind up creating a shadow over your subject.  That's not the kind of separation you want!

It's fun to try new stuff :)