Fresh vegetables, ham and curly pasta noodles are tossed in a simple cream sauce to make this quick skillet meal. The sauce is very light and just creamy enough without weighing the dish down and making it too heavy. My kids absolutely love this meal and I love that it’s a great way to get a whole lot of vegetables onto their plates.
This recipe is one of my favorite ways to use bits of vegetables and leftover meats from the refrigerator. I’ve been making different versions of this dish for as long as I can remember. I usually serve this pasta without any meat at all, but I’ve added roast chicken as well. This time, we all gave the ham two thumbs up and my kids declared this their new favorite pasta. In the summer, I make this with our abundance of summer squash. It can also be made with onions and/or fresh garlic, fresh herbs or dried. However, we make it, this is always a hit.
- 8 ounces pasta of your choice I used multi-colored gluten free spiral noodles.
- 1 small head of broccoli cut into small florets
- 1 large red bell pepper cut into small thin strips
- 2 cups crimini or button mushrooms quartered
- 2 cups ham chopped into 1/2" pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt divided, adjust to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper divided, adjust to taste
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
- 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese freshly grated, add more to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a small handful of salt and the pasta. Cook according to package directions (approximately 6-10 minutes) and then drain the pasta. Stir together the cream, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Set the cream mixture aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the broccoli and 2 tablespoons of water and cover with lid. Allow the broccoli steam for 1-2 minutes, until bright green and almost tender. Remove the lid and add the peppers and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes, letting the vegetables brown a bit between tossing each time. Sprinkle with the remaining salt and pepper. When the vegetables are cooked, but still crisp, remove them to a bowl.
- Add the ham to the hot skillet and allow it to brown for a minute or so before stirring. When the ham pieces are hot and lightly browned, add the cream to the skillet. Let it simmer and slightly thicken for 1-2 minutes, until it coats the ham pieces. Add the vegetables, toss to coat and then stir in the pasta. Let the sauce cook for another 2-3 minutes as needed, to thoroughly coat the pasta. (If the pasta is too dry, add a small splash of milk until it reaches the desired consistency.)
- Grate cheese over the top of the pasta and toss to combine and melt the cheese. Serve with additional cheese sprinkled on top, if desired. Enjoy!
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