Monday, June 8, 2020

Joey's Fusilli Col Buco with Ham and Peas

  I was recently looking for fun and different ways of using up some leftover ham, and I saw a recipe for pasta with ham and peas. This was exactly they type of thing I was looking for, and honestly, my first thought was "oooo I bet that would hit the spot!"
 Of course, I didn't exactly follow the recipe, and I sort of made it my own, adding some onions and white wine, etc. The result was very possibly one of the best pasta dishes I've ever made. Like, EVER. I'm not even kidding! After having a big pasta bowl of it, I immediately texted my brother with a picture, saying "want some?" He texted me back later that night saying that it was SOOOO good!
 I'm not sure if it was the wine, or the cream, or the grated cheese.. but it definitely all came together perfectly. And one of the things that I really love about it is that the flavor of the peas really comes through. It was just the perfect sweetness to go with the saltiness of the ham and the Parmesan cheese. And it was ready in as little time as it took to boil the pasta. Perfect!
I might need to add this to my weeknight dinner repertoire. You should too!

1 lb fusilli
4 tbs butter
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups diced ham
4 tbs flour
2 cups milk
1 cup cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more
Splash or two of white wine
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh parsley

  In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook fusilli according to package directions until al dente.
Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions. Saute until they soften, but don't let them go so far as to brown. Add diced ham and garlic and continue to saute for a few more minutes. Add flour. Stir for 2-3 minutes until everything is well coated. Add milk, cream, and grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to stir and simmer over medium low heat until the sauce thickens. Stir in a splash or two of white wine and then add frozen peas. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Drain cooked pasta and toss with sauce. Top with fresh parsley and more Parmesan cheese.

If the sauce becomes too thick, the wine will thin it out a little. If it's REALLY thick, add a splash of water until it's the right consistency.
Be sure you aggressively salt the pasta water. Like, two big HANDFULS of salt should do it. You want the water to taste salty like the ocean.
Use whatever pasta you have on hand! I just happened to like the long spirals, so that's what I chose!
Don't like ham, use chunk of boneless chicken instead! You could even use shrimp! oh YUM!

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