Homemade red sauce with pasta is nothing new at Di Palo's in Little Italy, but on a recent visit, the team explained that they're increasing the regularity of some of their offerings. Which means you have even more chances to get this prosciutto-filled red sauce, either in packaged form or dressed with pasta in the deli case, ready to eat.
What makes this red sauce different from all other red sauce? Prosciutto neck, the bony end of the ham, which the market has in abundance, and sells on its own for a mere $5.99 a pound. The bone and skin get stewed with tomatoes, onions, and olive oil until the sauce is concentrated and sweet; then the meatier portion of the neck is cut into a small dice and left to soften in the sauce shortly before it's finished.
The bone and skin drive intense porky flavors to the very core of the tomatoes, infusing the sauce with an unctuous richness that coats pasta especially well. The prosciutto dice is more for texture; it's reserved until the end so the meat doesn't dry out during prolonged cooking.
Most snack-y items at Di Palo's—that gorgeous porchetta, for instance—add up fast. But a half-pound portion of pre-cooked and -sauced prosciutto neck pasta will run you about $3.50 for a very respectable pick-me-up. Should your ambitions run more grand, you can always take home a prosciutto neck and make a sauce of your own.
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