It only took a few years of going out with friends to an expensive, crowded bar in New York City, waiting for the moment to scream “5-4-3-2-1,” to convince me that I'd much rather stay in for New Year's Eve. It's less expensive, and involves a lot less planning.
But even if I'm staying in, the last few moments of the year deserve celebration, too. This year, I'm planning on welcoming 2019 with something that makes me feel happy — a big bowl of creamy pasta. And of course some champagne. Yep, my Champagne Alfredo with Crispy Prosciutto and Shrimp is exactly how I plan to spend New Year's Eve. And here's how you can, too.
Before you bundle up in your abode, pick up a nice bottle of bubbly. Since you're drinking and cooking with it, buy a bottle that’s extra dry and mildly acidic — nothing too fruity. And make sure you buy actual Champagne; I love sparkling wines and Prosecco, as well, but they tend to be a little too sweet for this dish. (Heads up: You’ll need one cup of champagne to cook with, roughly 1/3 of the bottle, so plan accordingly.)
Once you’ve popped the cork and poured yourself a glass (cheers!), bring a big pot of salted water to a boil. While your pasta cooks, you'll make the sauce. Start by sautéing some shallots and garlic in a little butter. Once cooked, add a cup of Champagne to deglaze the pan and bring everything to a boil. You want to make sure you cook out the alcohol taste so that the Champagne aroma develops. Give it few minutes to boil.
Next, add some heavy cream and a ladle of cooking water from the boiling pasta. Sure, the Champagne adds a pop to the dish, but starchy water is your magical ingredient. It not only seasons and thickens the sauce, but also helps the sauce stick to the pasta. After the sauce thickens, add the pasta, toss to coat, and remove it from the heat. Then, add parmesan cheese and toss until the sauce becomes smooth and creamy.
You can serve this dish a few different ways. I like to nestle some shrimp on top, which I sauté in the pan before making the sauce to cut down on dishes to wash. For a salty bite and crunchy texture, I crumble a piece of crispy baked prosciutto over top of pasta. Lobster works well, too — just roughly chop some pre-cooked lobster meat and add it directly to the sauce. If you feel like extra-special treat (it is New Year’s Eve, after all) freshly grated white truffle would be straight up garnish goals.
Whether you spend your evening watching the ball drop, stream one of your favorite movies, or quietly reflect on the past year, know that you don’t have to follow the crowd to celebrate. A big bowl of pasta and treating yourself sounds like an amazing way to kick off 2019.
Champagne Alfredo with Crispy Prosciutto & Shrimp
8 thin slices of prosciutto
1 pound pappardelle pasta (or any long cut pasta you prefer)
Salt and pepper
12 jumbo tail-on shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup butter
1 shallot, mined (about 1/4 cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup champagne
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 handful parsley, minced, for topping
Click here to read the full recipe.