We don’t always share our kitchen well. Our cooking styles are different; Cara is calm and meditative, while Stefano is turbulent and inspired. Stefano’s creations are splendid, reminiscent of his mother’s and grandmother’s kitchen. When he is done cooking, every cabinet door is open; every pot, pan and utensil needs washing.
On weekend afternoons when the outdoors is calling, something simpler is called for. Two simple ingredients, prosciutto and mozzarella, make a perfect lunch. Add rustic bread, and call it a meal.
Prosciutto comes from the thigh and shoulder of the pig. There is prosciutto crudo – uncooked, cured ham, and prosciutto cotto – cooked ham. Choose prosciutto crudo, which is a darker red in color, to accompany your mozzarella. Ask at your deli counter for prosciutto that comes from Italy. Parma and San Daniele are two good brands. Ask for your prosciutto thinly sliced, but not so thin that it tears. It will need to be at least 1/16th inch thick.
It is well worth finding good mozzarella for this dish. We opted for mozzarella di bufala, which is made from the milk of the water buffalo. This delicacy from the Campania region of Italy is a larger, denser mozzarella with an earthier texture and a saltier taste. The trademark of a good, fresh mozzarella is the milk that oozes out from its center when it is cut.