- Cook Time
- Prep Time
- 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.