post almost always results in a daunting amount of leftover ham, which raises the question "how many different ways can we use this ham before it goes bad?" Soon we're having ham and eggs for breakfast, ham sandwiches for lunch, ham for dinner. By the second or third day, ham's gotta get pretty dressed up for me to get excited about it.
Here's one of my favorite leftover ham dinners--a quick pasta dish that enrobes the ham in a little cream and bejewels it with green peas. It's perfect for dinner on a busy weeknight, and way more satisfying than a frozen dinner or even macaroni and cheese (don't get me wrong, I love mac&cheese, especially with peas. Wait, maybe I'd love it even more if I added a little ham.... But I digress.) Plus, it's easy to keep nearly all the ingredients on hand: pasta in your pantry, parmesan in the fridge, green peas in the freezer, and you could even use sliced deli ham in place of a whole baked ham. So simple, yet so delicious. You hardly even need this recipe....
Orrechiete Pasta with Peas, Ham, and Cream (from Epicurious)
1 lb orecchiette pasta
3 T butter
1 small white onion, diced, (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 c frozen or shelled fresh peas
2 T water
4 oz cooked ham, cut into thin strips
3/4 c heavy cream (but I used only 1/2c plus a bit of milk)
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, warm 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. When the butter starts to bubble, add onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until translucent, stirring often.
3. Add the peas and water to the pan and cook 3 minutes, stirring. Stir in the ham and cook 2 minutes. Add the cream; bring to a low simmer and cook 5 minutes.
4. Drain pasta; place in large serving bowl. Stir remaining 2 tablespoons butter into the cream mixture over low heat until melted. Stir in the cheese. Pour sauce over pasta and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.