This year’s Easter Sunday lunch was the fastest I’ve ever prepared, and I used some unconventional pre-packaged ingredients to create an almost-homemade result. Our Easter weekend involved some travel plans to visit with my father, then a drive back with him to Maryland to spend Easter Sunday with my husband who had stayed behind. That left very little time in the kitchen.
I opted for a pasta dish that included two ingredients I associate with Easter dinner: ham and green peas. I don’t know why these two foods are what I expect to have on the holiday
table, but they are. I also like cream sauces, so I decided on a Parma Rosa sauce with ham, onions, peas, and rigatoni. As a side, I served rustically dressed Romaine lettuce leaves with Caesar dressing, shaved Parmesan, and croutons. In my next blog entry, I’ll share my almost homemade dessert for Easter Sunday, shortcut Nutella crepes with strawberries, à la mode.
Because I used some pre-made and pre-chopped ingredients, I thought that this meal would be a good one to share here. The entire cooking process took no longer than 25 minutes, and the finished product was deceivingly gourmet, and who doesn’t like that kind of result? This would be perfect for a casual Friday night dinner with friends or for a weeknight pasta dinner for your family.
I really do hope your Easter was stupendous! Now, armed with the good news of Jesus’ empty tomb and His resurrection, may your spring and summer bring you a wealth of God’s love and His blessings.
Shortcut Rigatoni Parma Rosa
2 – 8 oz. boxes ribbed Rigatoni (ribs hold sauce better)
4 packets Knorr Parma Rosa sauce mix (1.3 oz each)
4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 tbs. butter
2 – 8oz. packages fully cooked, diced ham ( Smithfield or Farmland brands are popular)
2 – 16oz. bags frozen peas
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for sauté pan
Boil pasta until al dente and have ready for sauce. Time accordingly. (I usually get the water to boiling, then add pasta when sauce is almost done.)
In a sauté pan, heat olive oil and sauté onions until translucent. Add garlic and ham and continue heating until ham is lightly browned.
In a Dutch oven, mix the milk, heavy cream, and 4 packets of Parma Rosa sauce with a whisk until blended. Add butter and continue stirring until just boiling. Reduce heat and simmer four minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Add cooked ham, peas, onions, and garlic to the sauce and fold-in gently. Salt and pepper additionally to taste if desired.
Pour sauce over each serving of pasta and garnish with grated or shaved Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Yield- 6-8 servings
*For Caesar salad, I simply washed 20 small Romaine leaves and drizzled Caesar dressing on each. Then, I placed shaved Parmesan and croutons on each leaf and fanned 2-4 leaves on each guest’s pasta plate. I made my own Caesar dressing but a store bought variety would work well too. I got my recipe from a chef and fellow blogger who chose to alter the traditional Caesar dressing to omit raw eggs. Honestly, I prefer the raw egg recipe, but this one is faster and very, very good. Find it at this link: http://www.onceuponachef.com/2010/08/caesar-salad-dressing.html