Sunday, May 1, 2011

Comes the hour, comes the ham

"Homer: Wait a minute wait a minute wait a minute: Lisa honey, are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?
Lisa: No.
Homer: Ham?
Lisa: No.
Homer: Pork chops?
Lisa: Dad! Those all come from the same animal!
Homer: Yeah, right Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal."
-The Simpsons "Lisa the Vegetarian" (Season 5, Episode 7)

Everytime I opened the fridge this week, I've been confronted by the ominous foil-covered mountain that is our leftover Easter ham. It was about 12 pounds when we got it and even after serving dinner for eight (with seconds) and sending some away with guests, we still have probably a good 6-8 pounds of pig to work through. But, like the saying goes, you have to eat an elephant one bite at a time. A rich, cheesy, buttery cream sauce helps.

Pasta with Peas, Ham, and Cream (adapted from Bon App├ętit) Serves 4 to 6

1 pound short, shaped pasta (shells, orecchiette, penne)
2 tablespoons butter
1 small white onion, diced, (about 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup frozen or shelled fresh peas
2 tablespoon water
4 ounces cooked ham, cut into small cubes
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.

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.

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 until thickened slightly.

Drain pasta; place in large serving bowl. Stir remaining tablespoon butter into the cream mixture over low heat until just melted. Stir in the cheese and pour sauce over pasta.

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