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Asparagus Pesto with Gnocchi and Ham

Asparagus Pesto with Gnocchi and HamThis tasty dish is sure to become a family favorite! It's a great recipe for using leftover holiday ham, too.

Recipe Ingredients:

2 cups ham, cubed
12 ounces asparagus*
3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup walnut pieces
1/4 cup olive oil, or canola oil
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon garlic, minced (6 cloves)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 (16-ounce) package potato gnocchi, or 8 ounces rotini (about 4 cups)

Cooking Directions:

  1. Snap off and discard woody portions of asparagus. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Cook asparagus in a small amount of boiling water about 5 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool.
  2. For pesto, in a food processor or blender, combine asparagus, basil, cheese, walnuts, olive oil, water, garlic and pepper. Cover and process or blend until nearly smooth, scraping sides occasionally. Divide pesto into thirds. Transfer 2 portions to freezer containers. Freeze for up to 3 months. Set aside remaining portion.
  3. Prepare gnocchi or rotini according to package directions.
  4. Meanwhile, coat a skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Cook ham cubes in skillet until heated through. Stir remaining portion of the pesto into ham cubes; heat through.
  5. Drain gnocchi and toss with pesto-ham mixture.

Makes 4 servings.

*If desired, substitute 12 ounces coarsely chopped broccoli for the asparagus. Cook broccoli in a small amount of boiling water about 5 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (1/4 of recipe): Calories: 355 calories Protein: 23 grams Fat: 19 grams Sodium: 1070 milligrams Cholesterol: 63 milligrams Saturated Fat: 8 grams Carbohydrates: 22 grams Fiber: 2 grams.

Recipe and photograph provided courtesy of National Pork Board.