Despite being a favourite salad ingredient, Cos lettuce is also tasty in hot dishes. Try this simple Pea, Prosciutto and Cos lettuce pasta from Australia’s best-loved cook Stephanie Alexander.
40g unsalted butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 slices prosciutto, cut widthways into 1cm-wide strips
12 cos lettuce leaves, stalks cut away, leaves cut widthways into 3cm-wide strips
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
500g peas in pod (to yield 1 cup shelled peas)
1 cup pouring cream
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
grated parmesan, to serve
300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
3 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
1 free-range egg yolk (extra)
1 To make the pasta, put flour into a food processor. With motor running, add eggs. Process for a few minutes until dough clings together and feels springy (it should not feel sticky); if mixture is too dry, add the extra egg yolk. Tip dough onto a work bench, knead it for a few minutes, then wrap in plastic film and allow to rest for 1 hour at room temperature.
2 Clear a large space on your workbench and have a bowl of plain flour nearby. All surfaces must be dry. If serving pasta immediately, bring a large saucepan or pasta pot of lightly salted water to the boil.
3 Divide dough in half. Press each piece into a rectangle about 8cm wide. Pass this piece of dough through pasta machine rollers set to its thickest setting. If dough comes through ragged at the edges, fold it in 3, then turn it 90 degrees and roll it through twice more. Change to next thickest setting and pass the dough through 3-4 times. Continue in this manner until dough has passed through thinnest setting desired. If dough gets too long to handle comfortably, cut it into 2-3 pieces and roll each piece separately. Either cut pasta sheets into 10-15mm-wide pappardelle, or run them through cutting rollers. Lay cut pasta on flour-dusted bench or a clean tea towel, and roll and cut remaining dough. Use as soon as possible, or hang over a length of dowelling, a broom handle or the back of a chair to dry. It will take 10 minutes or so for pasta to dry in a well-ventilated room.
4 Heat butter and olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan or sauté pan over low heat and gently sauté prosciutto until the fat starts to run. Add lettuce and garlic, then cover pan and cook gently over low heat for 5 minutes or until lettuce is limp.
5 Cook pappardelle in a pot of lightly salted boiling water. It will take just a couple of minutes to be al dente. Drain pasta, then return it to the hot, empty, pasta pot while you finish the sauce.
6 Add peas and cream to prosciutto and lettuce mixture, cover and cook for 5 minutes or until peas are tender. Uncover pan and increase heat to medium, then cook for 2-3 minutes or until cream starts to thicken and deepen in colour.
7 Toss in pasta and parsley, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to mix well and tip into a warmed serving dish and serve. Offer grated parmesan.