Monday, June 14

Lemon Penne with Ham and Spinach

This is another recipe inspired from Rachael Ray.  I was looking for recipes to use leftover ham and I came across this one in one of her magazines several months back.  I thought it had an interesting mix of flavors and I had everything on hand that the recipe called for--so it was a winner already.  As we were eating it the first time I made it, I was still stuck on the fact that it was mixing lemon and ham.  Lemon and chicken?  Sure, I get that.  But lemon and ham isn't something you come across too often.

And then it hit me.  It's a twist off of Egg's Benedict.  A traditional hollandaise sauce includes eggs, lemon, and butter served over Canadian bacon, poached eggs, and an English Muffin.  Duh!  Why didn't I see that before?   The lemon and ham totally made sense after that!  I am so glad I made that connection, because it was really bugging me.  

The original recipe calls for escarole, but that's expensive and I always have the boxes of frozen spinach on hand, so I used that instead.  It turned out really well--in my humble opinion.  :)

Lemon Penne with Ham and Spinach

1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
1 box chopped frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry (I like to do this in a tea towel--works really well)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups cubed ham
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (+ more for serving if you like a little extra kick like my husband does)
3 large eggs
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
Salt and Pepper

Cook penne pasta according to package directions.  Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water when draining pasta. 

While pasta is boiling, heat olive oil in large sauce pan and add garlic and ham.  Heat until fragrant and mix in spinach, separating as needed.  Stir in crushed red pepper and cooked pasta.  

In a separate bowl, beat eggs together and add in lemon juice and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.  Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water.  Stir in egg mixture into pasta and cook, stirring over low heat, until the cheese is melted and mixture is creamy.  Stir in remaining pasta water and season with salt and pepper.  Serve and top with remaining cheese.

This recipe is linked to:

Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday
Blessed With Grace Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap


Brenda said...

Wow, what a healthy and delicious looking recipe!

Sherry @ Lamp Unto My Feet said...

This looks delish! I love eggs benedict, too! :D

Bugaboo said...

I absolutely love eggs benedict, so I'm guessing this was pretty fantastic. Thanks for the recipe!


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