Ham, Spinach and Mushroom Pasta with Walnut Pesto

Ham, Spinach and Mushroom Pasta with Walnut Pesto
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 4Servings


  • 1 pound whole wheat penne rigate pasta
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin oive oil
  • 8 ounces boneless ham steak, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 2 cups white mushrooms (about 5 ounces), thinly sliced
  • 1 6 ounce bag baby spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup walnut pieces (about 4 ounces), toasted
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley
  • Grated peel and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper


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.

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.

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 1/4 cup olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Process to form a paste.

Add the walnut pesto and 1/2 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.