Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Recipe Spotlight: Rigatoni with Goat Cheese, Spinach and Ham

I had a ton of leftover ham after Thanksgiving, and I wasn't sure what to do with it. I can only eat so many ham sandwiches! What I was really craving was pasta, so I decided to be resourceful and make a ham pasta.  It may sound strange, but trust me, ham is delicious in pasta. (Think prosciutto!) I decided to take a healthful approach to my pasta lunch by adding in a ton of  fresh spinach. I could never feel guilty eating a huge bowl of pasta if it's jam packed with this iron-packed power food! So, for my day-after-Thanksgiving lunch, I cooked up a huge pan of rigatoni with wilted spinach, creamy goat cheese and salty ham, and it was the best use of leftovers ever! (If you don't have leftover ham just buy some in the deli, sliced extra thick.)

Rigatoni with Goat Cheese, Spinach and Ham
A deliciously different power-packed pasta!
Serves 4

3/4 lb. Rigatoni pasta
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh spinach (about 2-3 handfuls)
1/2 lb. thick-cut cooked ham, cubed
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
Salt and Pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, sprinkle with salt, and saute until softened.

Meanwhile, cook rigatoni in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite. Before draining pasta reserve a coffee mug full of the pasta water.

Add drained pasta to large skillet with onions and garlic and add ham. Raise heat to medium-high, add in fresh spinach and pasta water, and cover for 2-3 minutes until spinach is wilted. Remove cover and stir to combine, cooking off any remaining liquid. Finally, add in fresh crumbled goat cheese, stir until melted, and remove pasta from heat. Top with pepper and serve.

Recipe author: Sarah Saubert

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