The centerpiece of many Easter dinners is a whole or half ham glistening with a brown sugar glaze and studded with cloves. But after dinner when everyone has gone home, you will still have a lot of ham.
Here are a few suggestions of ways to use the remaining ham.I have ground ham in my food processor and frozen it. After thawing, it can be used in a quiche or casserole. I often make a quiche with Cheddar or Swiss cheese and ground ham. Ground or cubed ham adds lots of flavor to a breakfast casserole strata. The recipe below is one I've just been using a few years. Fresh asparagus and ham tossed with a tangy sauce containing goat cheese and al dente pasta is an easy dinner.
Ham and Asparagus Linguini
The fresh bright flavors of spring pop from this quick and easy entrée. Crisp pale green stalks of asparagus are appearing in the supermarket, a sure sign of spring. For this dish, I select thinner stalks because I find it easier to cook them quickly. Use ham leftover or omit it and try cooked shrimp or chicken instead. Goat cheese forms the basis for the sauce but doesn’t use a whole package. Crumble any remaining cheese over a salad.
Makes 4 servings
8 ounces linguini
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped shallot (1 medium)
2 cups asparagus cuts (about 1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces)
4 ounces cubed ham (about 1 cup)
6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the linguini is salted boiling water as directed on the package. Before draining, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.
Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium high heat and add the asparagus and shallot. Cook, stirring often, until the asparagus is tender but still crisp, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add the ham and cook about 1 minute or until heated through.
Stir in 1/2 cup pasta water and the goat cheese and continue stirring until the cheese melts. Add the cooked linguini and lemon rind. Taste and add salt if needed. If the sauce is too thick, stir in the remaining pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time.
Divide the pasta into four servings and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese and fresh cracked pepper.