RECIPE: Taylor Ham, Egg and Cheese, Pasta-fied

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Hate on New Jersey all you want, but there’s one thing you just can’t bring yourself to hate, and that’s Taylor ham. Probably the best thing to come out of the Garden State, and known as the nectar of the New Jersey gods, Taylor ham is a staple NJ commodity, something most non-NJers might not even know even exists – similar to Canadian bacon maybe, and occasionally referred to as pork roll [wrong], when you’re in NJ, it’s pretty much the only acceptable choice for your breakfast sandwich.

Though there is absolutely nothing in the world like a Taylor ham, egg and cheese on a big, fluffy, authentically New Jersey-ian bagel [and with saltpepperketchup] but if you’re looking for something a little classier, a little more grown-up, and the ultimate breakfast-for-dinner dish, here’s Taylor ham, egg and cheese…pasta-fied.

[For one really big serving]
1/2 pound of spaghetti (I used gluten-free, but you can use any type or shape you’d like)
Taylor ham (If you are in NJ, this will be flowing like water. I’ve seen it in out-of-state grocery stores, but you’ll have a hard time finding this anywhere else. To at least attempt another breakfast sandwich-y type pasta, you can substitute with Canadian bacon or even regular bacon)
a little bit of olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 heavy cream
2 cloves minced garlic
3/4 of an 8 oz wheel of brie, cut into small pieces and de-rinded
2 slices of Taylor ham, chopped into small pieces
1 egg
Salt and pepper

Start with the Taylor Ham – fry all those little guys up in a frying pan over medium high heat until they start to look a little crispy. Set aside.

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While this is going on, poach the egg. Quick egg poaching lesson: take a small pot filled halfway with water. Crack an egg gently into a small bowl. Let the water simmer and add a few drops of vinegar, then swirl the water. While the water is swirling, gently add the egg and let sit for one minute. Scoop with a slotted ladle and then place gently in cold water to stop the cooking. Scoop with a slotted ladle again and set aside.

Prepare your chosen pasta as directed. While this is happening, take a saucepan, heat it up, then heat up the oil to medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until just golden and fragrant. Add the heavy cream and let simmer for a minute, then swirl in the white wine and simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat down to low.

Add the drained pasta and mix into the sauce. If the sauce is looking a bit thick for your taste, add a little bit of the pasta water, and continue adding until the sauce is at the thickness you desire. Add the brie and let the cheese melt into the pasta a bit.

Plate the pasta, then sprinkle over with the Taylor ham. Gently add the poached egg on top. Season lightly with salt and pepper. If you’re feeling adventurous, add a drizzle of ketchup. Don’t forget to fist pump. Enjoy!