After boiling the penne pasta, here it is mixed in with the sliced escarole.
Preparing the ham steak.
Whipping together the lemon sauce mixture.
All together now. Pasta with the mixed greens side salad.
This pasta was one of the most interesting I've ever had. For starters, I'd never heard of escarole before (a slightly bitter member of the endive family), but it brought a great uniqueness to the dish. The lemon zest and juice provided much of the flavor, which was at times slightly overwhelming. In hindsight, I think I could have cut back on the amount the recipe called for to balance the lemon with the other flavors. I also went with wheat pasta, which I still struggle with a bit, but overall, the recipe was a good one to try. Just another opportunity to branch out of my typical routine.
Lemon Penne with Ham and Escarole Recipe
1 lb. penne pasta
1 head escarole (about 1 lb.), sliced crosswise
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 ounces ham steak, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 large eggs
Grated peel and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Salt and pepper
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Stir in the escarole and drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking water; return the pasta and escarole to the pot. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the ham, garlic and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, lemon peel, lemon juice and half of the cheese. Whisk in 1/2 cup reserved pasta water. Stir the egg mixture into the pasta and cook, stirring, over low heat, until the cheese is melted and the mixture is creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the ham mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup reserved pasta water; season with salt and pepper. Top with the remaining cheese.