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Dinner Meal Ideas: Jefferson Virginia Ham Pasta Recipe

     When I visited my friend, Cathy, in Virginia for a couple of weeks, she introduced me to a lot of delectable dinner meals that I was eager to cook for my family when I got back home. I wasn’t surprised when those meals have become the favorites in my household. One of those meals was “Jefferson” Virginia Ham Pasta. The title itself speaks what it stands for: it was thought to be created for, or created by the president himself (I forgot the real story but it was something like that), and said to be one of his favorite pasta recipes. The said president was known for his love of foods. In fact, during his presidency, it was noted that anything served at the White House became the talk of the town.

     I can’t recall how many times I made this. I used the recipe on myrecipe.com but over the course of time, I can say that I tweaked this in a numerous of times in different ways. I used different kinds of pasta, not just the strozzapreti pasta that the recipe originally called for, added different kinds of veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, etc. Don’t be afraid to add anything that calls your fancy as you’ll never go wrong with it.  

     The other night, I served this dish and as usual, it delighted my family. I can say that the recipe that I am going to share is a little far off from the original but this is how my family loves it, I guess. Every time I made this version of mine, I get a little more raves from them. I guess the taste of the original one is just a little subtle for them. Nevertheless, the original recipe still tastes really good, but it just depends on your palate preference. I suggest that you try your hands on the one posted on myrecipes.com as well as mine. Enjoy!  

"Jefferson" Virginia Ham Pasta (my version)


·         1 (16oz) package regular-sized Farfalle (or known as bow-tie) Pasta
·         1 pound leftover Ham (or any ham available at the store), cut into cubes
·         2 tablespoons Olive Oil
·         1 small Onion (I prefer red onion), diced
·         5 or more pieces Cremini Mushrooms (I use creminis or bown mushrooms because I         find its flavor to be noticeably deeper and more complex than the white                     buttons, but you can use any mushroom you want), sliced
·         2 cloves Garlic, minced
·         1/2 cup dry White Wine (I just used Yellowtail white wine)
·         1 cup Heavy Cream
·         3 tablespoons Butter (preferably salted)
·         1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
·         1 cup frozen Sweet Peas (this is my hubby’s favorite veggie so I used a little more)
·         1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
·         1 C Parmesan Cheese and 1/2  C Three Mexican cheese (or any cheese you have)
·         Pinch of salt
·         Pinch of Crushed Pepper
·         1 tablespoon Cornstarch diluted in cold 3 T heavy cream or milk
Step 1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.

Step 2. Meanwhile, sauté ham in hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat 2 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. Add onion; sauté until it becomes translucent. Add mushrooms and garlic, and cook, stirring often, 2 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Stir in wine, and cook 5 minutes or until reduced by half.

Step 3. Add heavy cream, butter, black pepper, and a pinch or two of salt, according to taste. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes. Add peas, chopped parsley, and cheese. Lower heat to medium low and keep stirring until cheese begins to melt and cream begins to thicken a little. I want my sauce a little thicker so I added cornstarch diluted in cold heavy cream or milk.
Note: I do not mix the pasta with sauce because I let my family mix their servings according to their liking, but you can stir in the hot cooked pasta with the sauce, and toss them until well coated. It’s your call. Serve while hot and top it with some more cheese and chopped parsley if you may.
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