Leftover Ham? Make Pasta Primavera

Like many of you, I have leftover ham from our Easter dinner. Last night I made pasta primavera and added ham to it. So good! Recipe’s at the end.

I don’t have pictures of our dinner. I don’t like letting the food blog interfere with real life.  Brunch was just four of us: my daughters, the youngest’s boyfriend and myself. We made crepes and fruit salad and sausage and had mimosas.  They all went for a walk in the rain while I lit a fire and got the ham ready to go. My niece and boyfriend joined us for dinner.

Kayden at the Creek

Kayden at the Creek

I can show you a bag of leftover ham but that’s not very exciting.

Leftover Ham

I will say that this ham was fantastic! I started with this recipe, ham with garlic and rosemary, and then added maple syrup to it. I had an 11 pound ham and began it at 250 F, as in the original recipe. But I know ham is flexible. It’s also already cooked so you can play around a bit with the oven temperature like I did.  My eldest daughter made a carrot cake after the ham was in the oven. I just turned the temperature up to what she needed to bake the cake and then turned it back down when she was done. The garlic and rosemary rub added a really nice spicy note.

The carrot cake was also fantastic! Are you sensing a theme yet? Everything came out really good. That’s all that’s left and it will be gone by this afternoon. I sent everyone home with some so I wouldn’t be too tempted. But this cake! It was moist and filled with carrots, pineapple, walnuts and golden raisins.

carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

Carrot Cake

My youngest daughter made rolls, which I also turned the oven up to bake and then back down. I don’t have any pictures of those because there are none left here! Likewise, the grilled artichokes with vinaigrette. That might be my new favorite recipes. (See How to Cook Artichokes.)  I also grilled some asparagus that sat for a bit in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Oh and I made macaroni and cheese, the fancy kind with Fontina.

So that was all good and now we’ve all got some ham, which is like having money in the bank! There are so many things you can do with leftover ham.

And now I’ll add Pasta Primavera to that list! You can use whatever vegetables you have around. I had some broccoli from the garden, a few stalks of asparagus, sugar snap peas and green onions. Peas would be very good too, just add them at the end since they don’t take long to cook.  Green beans, cherry tomatoes. Whatever says spring to you!  Slice the stalks of any firm vegetables and cook them first, then add the flower heads (broccoli, asparagus tips) and then something super fast like peas. You can adjust the ratio of sauce (and vegetables) to pasta. I tend to like it heavier on the vegetable side.

Pasta Primavera with Ham

Pasta Primavera with Ham

  • 1/2 pound pasta (angel hair, spaghetti, fettucini, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil plus 1 Tablespoon, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 - 3/4 pound of vegetables (asparagus, sugar snap peas, green beans, peas, broccoli, etc.) cut into 1" pieces, stalks separated and cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 to 1 cup diced ham
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for the table

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil while you prep the vegetables.

Start cooking the pasta when you start cooking the vegetables.

In a large skillet, heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium heat and cook the garlic for a few minutes. Add any firm vegetables and the stalks of things to the garlic, then add 1/4 cup of the pasta water. (You don't need to measure - just use a ladle to scoop some out.) Partially cover so some of the steam can escape and cook until crisp tender, about 4 minutes.

Take the lid off and any quick-cooking vegetables, like broccoli and asparagus tips and cook a 2-3 minutes.

Add 1 cup of pasta water, the green onions and peas and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bring to a rapid boil and cook until the water is reduced by half.

Stir in the ham.

When the pasta is done, add it to the skillet. You can just lift it out with tongs and put it straight into the sauce.

Add the cream and stir until the sauce is coating the pasta. If it seems too dense, add more pasta water and/or cream.

Turn the heat off and stir in the Parmesan cheese.