Dinner will come together in a jiffy with just a handful of ingredients. This recipe for Creamy Noodles with Ham and Tomatoes is amazingly easy and delicious!
About twice a year, I do what’s called a Pantry Challenge. What that means is that I try to make good use of the things that we already have in the pantry, fridge, and freezer before going shopping for more. Each time I do it, I learn more about my shopping habits, our family’s taste preferences, and my mad ninja skills in the kitchen.
Just kidding about that last part. Sorta. It’s always been a good experience overall, kinda like a real life game of Chopped.
Each Pantry Challenge involves it’s fair share of “experiments”. Having written several cookbooks, I have gotten my family pretty well-accustomed to “experiments”. They know it will be edible; they’re just not sure it will one of their favorite things ever.
I admit, sometimes, I hold my breath as I bring something to the table, wracking my brain to see if there’s an alternative meal choice in case this one is a train wreck. Thankfully, this dish of Creamy Noodles with Ham & Tomatoes constituted as a “home run” in my husband’s book.
Fun fact: all my experiments get ranked in baseball terms. Home runs are obviously delicious. Strike outs and base hits rarely meet the public. Ahem.
I worked in an upscale restaurant years ago and observed one interesting practice that got embedded in my single, twenty-something mind. To create the day’s specials, the chef scanned what he already had in the refrigerators and created something on the spot.
He didn’t dream something up and then go get the ingredients. He worked from his pantry first.
See? A Pantry Challenge is cool, after all.
This Creamy Noodles dish has that type of origin story. It was originally made up of leftover spaghetti from the night before as well as leftover Easter ham. I had a tomato and basil from the produce box and just a bit of cream in the pantry. Voila!
Creamy Noodles with Ham and Tomatoes
- 1 lb spaghetti cooked according to package instructions
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ cup whipping cream
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup diced ham
- salt to taste
- black pepper
- 1 tomato chopped
- 2 tablespoon fresh basil (chopped)
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Rinse and drain.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook one minute, stirring. Add the cream and red pepper, stir.
- Add the spaghetti and ham and toss gently over low heat until heated through.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss in the tomatoes and basil right before serving.
Updated April 9, 2017.