Publisher’s note: Enjoy this pasta recipe from Susan Williams in celebration of National Pasta Day.
When my friends Anne and Robin came to visit me recently, we had more fun than the law allows. We talked, we giggled, we watched TV, we shopped, and generally, we enjoyed each other to the hilt.
It was really important to me to provide a relaxed atmosphere to them, since they’ve both been under a fair amount of stress, for various reasons. So I really didn’t WANT to be in the kitchen all the time.
I wanted delicious food. Absolutely. What good are calories if you can’t enjoy them? But I wasn’t out to impress them with all my cooking chops, either. Delicious and fast were the two things at the top of my priority list.
This pasta fit the bill, perfectly! I had some ham in the fridge that needed using up, and when they were visiting, I had some sugar snap peas on-hand.
And that’s the beauty of this recipe. It is eminently suitable for adaptation. Whatever kind of pasta you have is fine. I’ve used orecchiette, campanelle, and what you see pictured here: chifferini, which is a half moon shaped pasta with little ridges. Whatever green veggie you’d like to use is fine: I’ve used peas, sugar snap peas, and now this version, which is perfect for spring: asparagus. (Grab it while it’s on sale!) You could certainly garnish it with parsley, and I think bread crumbs browned with butter, olive oil and garlic would add a nice texture, too. But if you’re in a hurry, as I was, keep it simple, and enjoy.
Here’s the recipe for this little treasure that my dear friend Hannah told me she has moved to her Family Recipes notebook. It’s the notebook where she keeps only the best of the best.
Pasta with Asparagus, Ham, and Cream
- 1 lb. pasta (I used chifferini)
- 3 T. butter
- 1/2 c. diced onion
- 1 bunch of asparagus, sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 c. deli ham, thick sliced, and diced into bite-sized pieces
- 3/4 c. heavy cream
- 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions, in boiling water that is salty like the sea. (I use about 1 generous T. salt for a big pot of water.)
- Warm 1 T. of the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When the butter starts to bubble, add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Stir in the asparagus and the ham, and cook for a minute. Pour in the cream, bring to a low simmer, and simmer 5 minutes.
- Drain pasta. Put back in the pasta pot. Pour sauce over pasta, drop remaining butter into pot, and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Toss to coat, and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with additional grated Parm, if desired.
- I have made this recipe with peas, asparagus, and sugar snap peas, all with equal success. But if it’s springtime, and asparagus is on sale, this is a nice way to enjoy it while it’s in season.