Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Tuscan Ham and Pasta - Holiday Left Overs

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 Oh Boy... Left overs!

But not just any left overs, this Tuscan Ham and Pasta is the perfect post holiday "dump in a crock pot and keep it warm to graze all day" dish.  Warm, hearty and filling, efficient use of left overs, but certainly a respectable dish on it's own.

My post holiday was spent with a small group of family lazily lounging around hunting for something to binge watch on TV.  There was a larger group that hit the stores for the post holiday frenzy of sales and returns.  Our lovely day of family togetherness was finally over as we settled into the true meaning of Christmas (insert ironic shake of head here).  But what remained was a need to feed both branches of the post familial Holiday experience.

And here it is.

Very simple and fast to make (20 minutes, really!).  Primarily a simple pasta dish but the meat of the dish is the left over holiday ham (works with turkey as well).  I included in the recipe a frozen spinach ingredient.  Feel free to dice up that bowl of leftover creamed spinach if you have it.  Got left over peas... dump them in too (especially if there is bacon in your pea recipe).  You get the idea.  A wonderful use of left overs.

One note, I put mine in a crock pot so everyone could graze as the day wore on.  Watch the pot, the pasta can dry out pretty quick if you set the heat too high.  Every few hours I will add a bit of Half and Half and more Cheese to the mix.  Good for another few hours of our Breaking Bad marathon!

Enjoy indeed and Happy holidays!

 OK... Here's what I did...

Tuscan Ham and Pasta
Holiday Left Overs

  • 1 TBS Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, Minced
  • 1 Package (16 Ounces) Frozen Spinach. Thawed, Squeezed with as much water as possible squeezed out
  • 1 Onion, small dice
  • 1 TBS Herbes de Provance
  • 1 Can (14.5 Ounces) Diced Tomatoes, Drained
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 2 Cups Diced Ham, large dice
  • 1/2 Cup Half and Half
  • 1 Cup Long Grain Rice
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 2 Cups Half and Half
  • 3 TBS Flour
  • 16 Ounce box Rotini Pasta
  • 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan Cheese
Cooking Directions
  1. In a Large Skillet, Place the oil, garlic, spinach, and onion. Saute over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the pasta according to the box directions, EXCEPT, prepare al dente, cooking one minute less than suggested on the box.
  3. Back to the skillet, add the Herbes, Tomatoes and Chicken Stock.  Increase heat to medium high.  Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then stir. Add the Ham and stir.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the half & half and flour together, making sure there are no clumps. Stir the flour mixture into the sauce, stirring continuously well mixture is combined
  5. Allow the sauce to simmer until the pasta is finished.
  6. Drain the pasta, return the pasta to the large pasta pot.  Add the sauce and stir to combine.
  7. Add Parmesan Cheese and stir until melted.
  8. Transfer to a crock pot, set on low and serve it up all day while all the post holiday adventures start...
    and ENJOY!

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