When we were first living together, my husband and I started making “clean out the veggie drawer pasta” once a week. It’s exactly what it sounds like: once a week, anything that was left in the drawer went into our dinner. Some weeks it was unexpectedly awesome – some weeks not so much. Over time, it evolved into a few different go-to dinners.
This variation of the pasta is my personal favorite. I’ll still make substitutions depending on what we have on hand – chicken instead of ham or peas instead of tomatoes make frequent appearances – but these are always what I hope to find in the drawer when we start prepping dinner.
I love how fast this comes together. I usually start my chopping right after I dump the pasta into the water and then by the time I’m ready to add the pasta to the skillet, it’s done cooking. Paired with a salad and a loaf of crusty bread, it’s an awesome, quick meal.
Serves: 4 Servings
- 1 lb. penne pasta
- 3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large ham steak, diced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
- ⅓ cup kalamata olives, sliced
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, julienned
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Heat 2 Tbsp. of oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and ham and cook until onion is translucent and ham is browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 30 seconds more, until fragrant. Add in the tomatoes and sliced olives and cook another 1-2 minutes, until the tomatoes start to give up their juice.
- Add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss to combine. Add more olive oil as needed to coat. Stir in Parmesan cheese, top with basil and serve.
Kate is a home cook and new mom from New Jersey. In addition to sharing recipes with Eat at Home readers, she blogs her cooking adventures at Kate’s Recipe Box. When she’s not in the kitchen, you can find her reading or tending to her garden.