Each year around Christmas I’ll buy a ham. Ironically, we never eat it for Christmas dinner. I just get it because I want ham and that’s usually the best time to find a good one.
Most of the time the ham gets put into my split pea soup. However, in case you hadn’t noticed, hams are big. I’m not making that much soup. That means we will still have a lot of meat left over.
After a few nights of eating the ham, though, I start to get a little bored. This last one that I had seemed like it was lasting for forever, but we whittled it down to a point where one last meal might finish it off. I had already used some in a frittata the night before, but wanted to do something different to use up the last chunks before tossing the bone into a pot of water to make broth (this ham broth is perfect for the split pea soup!)
I started digging around looking for some inspiration. Ham’s salty and smoky flavor go really well with a lot of ingredients, I just had to decide which ones I actually had on hand. Hmmm…. there’s a half bag of frozen peas over here, some parmesan cheese up there, and several packages of pasta. I think I got it!
Ham & Pea Pasta Recipe
- Green peas, fresh or frozen
- Ham, cut into small bite size chunks
- Olive oil, extra virgin preferred
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese (the stuff in the can is fine, too)
- Dried sweet basil
- Salt and/or pepper, to taste (keep in mind the ham and parmesan will already be salty)
- Freshly cooked pasta of choice
While you are cooking your pasta, prepare your peas by placing them in a bowl and covering them in near boiling water. Allow them to sit in the water for at least 5 minutes.
Once your pasta is finished and drained, pour some olive oil into the pot and put in the ham. Place the pot on the stove and set the heat to high just until the meat starts to sizzle. Turn the heat to medium-low, drain the peas and put them into the pot with the ham. Heat together for just about a minute then turn the heat off, leaving the pot on the burner. (By the way, the drained water from the pasta and the peas are a great nutrient boost for compost or your garden plants, just wait until it is cool to use it!)
Add the cooked pasta to the pot. Drizzle in more olive oil and sprinkle in some basil. Toss the contents together, adding more olive oil as needed to thoroughly coat the pasta, more basil as desired, and distribute the ham and peas as much as possible. Once the pasta is well tossed, add in the amount of parmesan you would like, but it will taste best if it has a generous amount to coat all the contents. Add in salt or pepper as desired. Serve hot.