Spring Vegetable Pasta with Ham + Creamy White Bean Sauce
There are so many other ways to make pasta than traditional spaghetti and meat sauce (although I love that, too!). This pasta is a great way to use any leftover ham you may have from the holidays. If you’re doing this in winter, you can change up the vegetables any way you want, but I like that the peas and greens cook right in the pot in only a minute or 2.
Making this creamy sauce from white beans is something I saw in one of my frozen dinners (very sophisticated inspiration, I know). But I thought that was a pretty cool idea. I decided to use cannellini beans because this dinner is semi-Italian. But if you don’t want to make the sauce from scratch, you can always use store-bought hummus! Even easier. And since this sauce recipe makes a little more than what you need (about 2 cups, and you’ll only need 1 ½), you can eat this just like hummus. It’s really good!
Total Time: 45 minutes
Difficulty Level: Easy
For the White Bean Sauce
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons garlic powder
½ cup freshly grated asiago cheese
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
For the Pasta
1 pound whole wheat rotini
1 pound pre-sliced smoked ham
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup arugula or other baby lettuce
2 cups white bean sauce
1 ½ – 2 cups reserved pasta water
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper
- Make the creamy white bean sauce by adding the drained cannellini beans, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, and asiago cheese to a food processor. Pulse until it has begun to turn into a paste. Then with the processor running, stream in the olive oil until the sauce is the consistency of hummus. Taste, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, trim the skin and fat off the ham, and slice into strips about the same size as the pasta.
- When the pasta is done, but before you drain it, use a liquid measuring cup to pull out about 2 cups of pasta water. Set aside.
- Drain the pasta, and set aside.
- To the same hot pot, add the ham, and heat through. Add the peas, arugula, white bean sauce, and cooked pasta. Stir slowly to wilt the greens and heat the peas and sauce.
- Add pasta water as need to thin out the sauce until it has the right consistency. (I used exactly 1 ½ cups).
- Add the lemon zest and juice. Mix, and taste. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve hot.