Like many of us, I have some nice, smoky leftover ham from Easter dinner. As I have mentioned too many times, I love leftovers. I think it’s the possibilities, the unknown options that appeals to me most. The fact that there’s something already prepared and all I have to do is tweak it into something else, probably appeals most to me. You know, a challenge and The Goddess loves a good challenge. With that in mind, I made a post-Easter version of Pasta Carbonara with my tasty, leftover ham…I know, that wasn’t that big a reach, was it? I diced up some of the ham, instead of bacon and threw in a few leaves of kale, to add some texture and make us feel healthier! This is very simple, fast and was really quite delicious. This is how it came together—
- 5 or 6 large mushroom with
- 3 scallions,
- 3/4 cup finely chopped or julienned ham and
- 1 teaspoon roasted garlic paste (out 3 cloves, mashed)
I washed and dried
- 4-5 kale leaves, ribs removed and chopped them up into smallish pieces
- Beat 4 eggs with
- 1/4-1/3 cup half-and-half, add
- Fresh gratings of whole nutmeg (don’t bother with pre-ground nutmeg)
When the water boils, add the pasta (12-16 ounces) and cook until al dente; do NOT over cook the pasta. Drain well, adding about 3-4 tablespoons of pasta water to the mushroom/ham mixture. Return the pasta to the pot that you cooked it in, sprinkle with at least 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt; toss. Pour the beaten egg/cream mixture onto the hot pasta, along with the mushroom mixture.
Toss until you see the eggs becoming creamy. The residual heat from the pasta, cooks the eggs.
Serve immediately, in large bowls, with lots of freshly grated parmesan-Reggiano and tons of freshly ground black pepper. I use a Tellicherry and pink peppercorn combination, about 2:1 ratio. You may add some red pepper flakes to the mushrooms and scallions, when sautéing them.
That’s it…dinner in less than 30 minutes. And it’s almost a one-pot meal!