Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Pasta with Ham and Broccoli

The weather has really been toying with us around here. One day we are enjoying beautiful, warm temperatures and sunny skies, and the next day we wake up to several inches of snow covering the ground. The kids have been really confused by all of this. Emma especially was majorly bummed when I told her that she had to exchange the sun dresses she had been sporting for her winter coat and gloves. "I don't like the snow! It freezes me!" she pouted. My thoughts exactly, young lady.

Even though the temperatures have plummeted once more, Paul and I have still kept our windows open in our bedroom. Our room heats up so much at night that the only way to keep it at a temperature that is bearable enough for sleep is to open both the windows. Well, we have yet to put the screens up on our windows and based on the early morning visitors we had last Saturday, it just might be time to get that little chore done. See, we were awoken early on Saturday morning by Matthew who was tapping frantically on Paul's shoulder to tell him that there was a bird trying to get into our room through the cracked window. Paul and I were pretty groggy after a rough, sleepless night with a fussy Lucy and told him to go away and leave us alone for a bit longer. We then tried to get back to sleep but were awoken by this frantic scratching sound coming from the window in our bathroom. We looked up to see a very large robin trying desperately to squeeze its way inside. Thankfully, it was a very fat bird and could only manage to twist itself in halfway before realizing the effort was futile. He did, however, leave a disgusting gift on the inside of our sill before flying away. An examination of the other window where Matthew had seen a bird trying to break in found the same gift. Like I said, those screens are going up!

Here is a great recipe to use up all that ham you might have leftover after making this amazing Cherry-Port Glazed Ham. This is a super simple and quick pasta dish that the whole family will love. You can change it up to suit your personal preferences by adding in some different vegetables, like peas instead of broccoli. Always serve with more cheese on the side for sprinkling on top. That's Emma's favorite part. She always requests a generous layer of "cheese snow" to be strewn over the top of her pasta. Smart girl.

And, if pasta is not really your thing, there is also this awesome soup or these mouth-watering sandwiches. Leftover ham is never a bad thing around here.

Pasta with Ham and Broccoli
adapted from Simply Recipes

3/4 pound shaped pasta of choice
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups diced ham (or more)
1 1/2 cups broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces and lightly steamed
1/2 cup cream
1 cup of pasta cooking water (reserved from cooking the pasta)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper

Heat 4 quarts of water and 2 Tbsp salt in a large pot for the pasta. Once the water starts to boil, add the pasta and cook at a rolling boil, uncovered, until al dente, cooked through, but still a little firm to the bite (the low end of the cooking times given on the package). Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

While you are cooking the pasta, heat the butter in a medium skillet on medium heat until melted. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the ham.

Stir in 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Stir in  1/2 cup of cream, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.

When the pasta is ready, toss it with the sauce in a serving bowl along with the steamed broccoli and serve.

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