As you may be able to guess from the plate featured in this photo, this is birthday week at our house. Not one, not two, but three kids have birthdays in a period of five days. It's exhausting but fun and it's also a major food fest.
The tradition in our family is that the birthday person gets to choose a special breakfast, a special dinner and a favorite dessert. Anna was overjoyed to discover this year that her birthday fell on a school holiday, so she was also allowed to choose what we had for lunch. Usually the kids choose family favorites. We know that a meal is getting a figurative big thumbs up when we try something new and the kids say something like, "This is birthday dinner material!" So I'll try to feature a few of our birthday favorites over the next couple of weeks.
I was actually surprised that this dish made the birthday list this year. It's an often-requested dish but it's a little on the simple side to qualify for the usual birthday meal standards. But Anna realized that we hadn't had it for a long time and settled on it as her birthday choice even after I offered her what I thought were more alluring options.
I sort of made this recipe up. I say sort of because it was inspired by a sauce that one of my Italian friends used to make when I lived in Sicily about 30 years ago. It's not especially healthy but it's simple and delicious and, I might add, a great way to use up leftover ham.
2 c. diced ham
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1 c. shredded mozzarella
1/2 c. frozen peas
½ c. grated parmesean
Cooked and drain pasta while you are preparing the sauce.
Cook ham, onion and garlic in skillet in a small amount of oil. As ham begins to brown, pour in cream and stir. Add mozzarella and frozen peas. Cook until well-blended, about ten minutes. Simmer on low heat for 10 to fifteen minutes. Add grated parmesean cheese. Stir until smooth. Stir in drained pasta and stir until pasta is coated. Serves about 8.