We had a lovely, smoked, spiral, sliced ham for Easter and as usual, had a bunch leftover. When our boys were still living at home, they ate a lot, so we didn’t have quite as many leftovers to deal with. However, now that it is just Opa and I on the regular, I typically stretch the leftovers and I often create something new, something we have never had before with what we had left. This is how my Leftover Ham and Creamy Pasta came to be.
I love pasta and the smokey, flavor of ham. So, coming up with this recipe for Leftover Ham and Creamy Pasta was a no-brainer!
If you are looking for leftover ham recipes, this Leftover Ham and Creamy Pasta is the perfect recipe to use! This is a recipe developed with just the ingredients I had on hand. I refused to go to the grocery store, so I perused the fridge and pantry until I found items I thought went well together. There is diced ham, Rigatoni, garlic, peppers and zucchini in a creamy, parmesan sauce.
The beauty of this dish is you can sub in whatever vegetables you have on hand. I have made this with frozen peas, frozen corn and garlic in the past and it was wonderful! This time I had one bell pepper, an onion and two small zucchini. This combo took the flavor to a new place. The idea is to stretch the grocery budget, use up what you have on hand and keep your weeknight meal simple.
My Leftover Ham and Creamy Pasta is a crowd pleaser, budget friendly and quick to make!
Leftover Ham and Creamy Pasta
- 4 cups leftover ham, cubed smokey ham lends the best flavor
- 16 ounces Penne or Rigatoni Use your favorite pasta
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1 large sweet bell pepper, finely chopped Yellow or red peppers are sweetest
- 1 med onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup minced parsley
- 1-2 med zucchini, chopped
- 1-1/2 tsp salt may need to alter dependng on the saltiness of your ham
- 1/2-1 tsp red, pepper flakes alter depending to your love of spicy foods
- 2 tsp dried, basil
- 1-1/2 tsp dried, oregano
- 1/2 cup shredded, Parmesan Cheese
- 3 cup heavy, whipping cream
- Heat a pot of water and cook pasta according to package directions, drain.
- Meanwhile in a large skillet, heat oil and butter or medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, zucchini, ham, red pepper. Cook and stir approximately 10 minutes or until ham is browned and vegetables are tender. Add the garlic and herbs and cook an additional 3 minutes.
- Then, add in heavy cream and Parmesan Cheese, stir well. After cream and cheese is incorporated into the vegetable and ham, add in cooked pasta and toss to coat. Serve topped with additional Parmesan Cheese to taste.
We ate this on the night I first prepared it and then two more times as a leftover lunch and another evening meal. I took a portion to work for my dinner and Opa ate it at home when our work schedule conflicted. Everyone in the break room at work wanted to know what the amazing smell was coming from the microwave. You just cannot go wrong with smoked ham and cheese sauce!
While this may not seem fancy, you can dress it up. Chopped, flat leaf parsley and additional grated, parmesan cheese on top, serves as a lovely, filling and very flavorful meal for guests. I wasn’t surprised at how good these ingredients went together, but I was ultra pleased that the creamy sauce took it to another level. I hope you choose to try this Leftover Ham and Creamy Pasta dish and enjoy comfort food at it’s finest!!
Do you have a favorite way to use up your leftover ham?