BUY walnut pieces, which are
cheaper than whole walnuts, when
the shape of the nut doesn’t matter.
TOSS a small handful of baby
arugula in with the spinach.
SPICE UP the walnut sauce with
crushed red pepper.
Ham, Spinach and Mushroom
Pasta with Walnut Pesto
SERVES 4 PREP 20 MIN COOK 15 MIN
1 pound whole wheat penne
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-
virgin olive oil
8 ounces boneless ham steak, cut
into ¼-inch cubes
2 cups white mushrooms (about
5 ounces), thinly sliced
One 6-ounce bag baby spinach
3 cloves garlic
1 cup walnut pieces (about
4 ounces), toasted
½ cup coarsely chopped parsley
Grated peel and juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper
1. In a large pot of boiling, salted
water, cook the pasta until al dente,
about 12 minutes. Drain, reserving
1 cup of the pasta cooking water,
and return the pasta to the pot.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet,
heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over
high heat. Add the ham and cook,
stirring, until golden, about
3 minutes. Push the ham to the
side, add the mushrooms and cook,
stirring, until lightly colored, about
5 minutes. Stir in the spinach and
cook until wilted, about 1 minute.
3. Using a small food processor,
mince the garlic. Add the walnuts,
parsley and lemon peel and
process until finely chopped. With
the machine on, add the lemon
juice and remaining ¼ cup olive
oil; season with salt and pepper.
Process to form a paste.
4. Add the walnut pesto and ½ cup
of the reserved pasta water to the
pasta; toss to coat thoroughly. Stir
in the ham mixture, adding more
pasta water if needed; season with
salt and pepper.