Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hamming It Up: A Recipe

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter. We did, well except for the typical grouchiness caused by getting up too early and having to wear ties, but that’s expected, after all it’s EASTER! My annual Easter Photo Nazi pictures will be posted soon. But for now I wanted to share with you a great way to use up that leftover ham. It sure beats turning it into funeral food and making ham sandwiches. We don’t have much leftover since we let our animals in on the Easter celebrations and fed them the leftovers. Yes, we fed our pigs ham, what of it? They have no qualms about cannibalism and in fact rather enjoyed their Easter treat, so who am I to judge? :-)

And now that you probably just lost your appetite thinking of pigs eating ham, here’s a recipe for you! This recipe is a fantastic way to use up that leftover ham. I don’t know how but these simple ingredients combine to make an amazing dish. Enjoy.

Ham and Pasta Skillet Dinner


1 lb small tube or shell pasta

3 T olive oil

1 T. butter

3 c. fully cooked ham, diced

1 large sweet red pepper, diced

½ medium onion, chopped (I usually use onion powder because I’m married to someone who detests visible onions in his food and has passed that on to our children)

¼ c. minced fresh parsley

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ t. dried basil

½ t. dried oregano

1 ½ c. chicken broth

1 T. lemon juice (freshly squeezed is the best)

¾ c. shredded Parmesan cheese (because I tend to be overindulgent I usually up this or throw in a bit of mozzarella cheese as well)

Cook pasta according to package directions-only cooking until al dente (said with your best Italian accent) since pasta will continue to cook and soak up liquid when added to the skillet. While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat until butter is melted. Add pepper, onion, and garlic and cook until vegetables are tender, about 4-6 minutes. Add ham, basil and oregano and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for another 2-3 minutes. Stir in broth and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half, and trust me it will reduce although you’re going to doubt me during the first 5 minutes or so but it will reduce. Stir drained pasta a little at a time into ham and vegetable mixture, you may not use the full pound, you don’t want the sauce to be lost with too much pasta, or maybe that’s just me. Add ½ c. parmesan cheese and toss. Sprinkle parsley and remaining cheese over the top. Serve immediately.

I have to admit that I was skeptical of this recipe at first due to the broth based sauce. Typically, when I make a pasta dish it’s heavy on the cream or tomato sauce (hence the reason for my current weight loss quest) so I was doubtful that pasta w/out either of those 2 would be bland and boring. Au contraire! Trust me, try this and you’ll see.

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