Gemelli With Asparagus, Slivered Garlic and Prosciutto
8 ounces dried gemelli (or rotini or penne)
1 pound asparagus (woody ends discarded), cut crosswise into approximately 1 1/2-inch lengths
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Freshly ground black pepper
5 small cloves garlic, cut into thin slices (3 tablespoons sliced)
1 1/2 ounces (about 3 slices) thinly sliced prosciutto
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving (optional)
PREHEAT oven to 375 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
BRING a pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Generously salt the water and add the gemelli. Cook according to the package directions.
TOSS the asparagus with 1 tablespoon oil until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 15 minutes (for medium-thick asparagus).
MIX the garlic and 1/2 tablespoon oil; add to the asparagus in the oven, tossing to incorporate. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until the garlic has softened.
DRAIN the pasta and transfer to a serving bowl. Add the oven-roasted asparagus and garlic and the remaining tablespoon oil, and toss to incorporate.
TEAR each slice of prosciutto into 1-inch pieces and add to the bowl, tossing to combine as you add the pieces to keep them from clumping together. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.
SERVE warm, passing the cheese at the table if desired.
YIELD: 4 servings.