Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pasta with Ham and Ricotta

Easter dinner included a beautiful spiral sliced ham, and with it came some wonderful leftovers. When using up those leftovers we tend to always do the same recipes over and over again. Stepping out of the kitchen "comfort zone" can be a bit hard for a couple of our family members. So, when it was pasta night, I went to my "go to" recipe and realized I didn't have all of the ingredients, oops. Luckily I had everything for the second best one.

When I placed it on the table my youngest started to cry (she was extremely tired and everything triggered a meltdown).  I asked her to just give it a try and she continued to cry.  I turned my back for just a minute and she was asking for another helping.  It was a hit!

I made a few substitutions to make it a little "healthier", although how can you really make pasta healthy.  We substituted pasta water in the sauce for the cream, making it a lighter sauce that didn't coat the pasta as well, but saved us quite a few calories too.   You could substitute the peas for broccoli, or asparagus, or whatever veggie you like.  It is pretty versatile, which is great for picky eaters. 

Pasta with Ham and Ricotta
Serves 5-6

1 lb pasta of your choice
2 tbsp butter
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cup diced ham
6 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
fresh ground black pepper
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup pasta water

Cook pasta according to package directions in salted water.  Mario Batali always says,"It should taste like the sea". 

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the ricotta, ham, green onions, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and cheese.  Cook for 3-4 minutes until the cheese melts.  Add frozen peas and continue to cook another 2 minutes.

Add the pasta water (water the pasta is being cooked in) and stir to combine.  Drain the pasta and toss it into the sauce.  Serve garnished with additional Parmesan cheese.

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