Ham Asparagus Lemon Butter Pasta

A bowl of lemon butter pasta with ham and white asparagus topped with golden herbed bread crumbs.

White asparagus meets leftover ham in a stunning Spring inspired lemon butter pasta dinner recipe. Make it in 30 minutes or less!

There’s nothing more comforting than a great pasta dish. Whether you are feeling like a classic Slow Cooked Pappardelle Bolognese or quick and summery Pea Orecchiette Pesto Pasta a bowl of carbs always satisfies.

A bowl of lemon butter pasta with ham and white asparagus topped with golden herbed bread crumbs.

Ham Asparagus Lemon Butter Pasta

It’s hard to believe that this buttery, lemony satisfying bowl of pasta features three leftover ingredients (asparagus, ham, hollandaise). However when combined with pasta, the trio of leftovers, create a new dish you won’t soon forget.

Leftover ham is so versatile. It brings a wonderful salty smoky note to any dish. When you combine it with the freshness of asparagus and a hint of lemon butter, you have a simple yet tasty pasta dinner and an empty fridge!

Oh, I almost forgot! There are technically FOUR leftovers in this dish. Leftover Herb Pangrattato makes a wonderful topping to this pasta dish. It contains even more lemon zest and adds a textural crunch to the final dish.

A bowl of lemon butter pasta with ham and white asparagus.

The Ingredients

As I mentioned, this dish is full of delicious leftovers. With a little extra effort, you can also make this dish from scratch if you are missing one or all of the leftovers.

  • cooked ham
  • white asparagus
  • pasta
  • leftover hollandaise
  • pangrattato
  • lemon

Cooked, diced leftover ham is a must. If you don’t have any, you can substitute diced cooked chicken or even premium canned tuna (such as Rio) in this recipe.

White asparagus is a Spring delicacy and is very difficult to find, even when it’s in season. I had leftover asparagus to use up but have included instructions for preparing it from scratch.

Feel free to substitute green asparagus or even peas or broccoli if you can’t find white asparagus.

A bowl of lemon butter pasta with ham and white asparagus.

This recipe features one of my favourite pasta shapes; mafada corta pasta also known as reginette, malfaldine and mafalde. They are a flat, wide pasta with wavy edges, similar to mini lasagna noodles. I buy mine in bulk at Bulk Barn but any pasta shape will do for this dish. Try penne, rotini, orecchiette, or fusilli.

While the leftover hollandaise already contains lemon juice, an extra lemon (zested and juiced) will make this lemon butter pasta even more flavourful. If you don’t have any leftover hollandaise, you will need more lemons!

Or…you can make your own hollandaise using my SUPER EASY blender recipe here. Same goes for the pangrattato…it’s not absolutely necessary but really brings a great texture to the dish. Check out my recipe for a super easy Pangrattato here.

A bowl of lemon butter pasta with ham and white asparagus topped with golden herbed bread crumbs.

Lemon Butter Sauce aka Hollandaise

So, how do you achieve the zesty buttery flavour in this lemon butter pasta? It’s leftover hollandaise! No, I’m not kidding. Seriously, if you have leftover hollandaise…it makes a great lemon butter sauce (with a few more additions!).

If you don’t have any leftover hollandaise, no worries. You can whip some up using my easy blender recipe here or make an even easier butter lemon pasta sauce using more lemons and cream.

To make the lemon butter sauce (without leftover hollandaise), zest four lemons, then juice them. Melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a sauté pan, then add the lemon zest and juice. Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water and bring it to a simmer. Season it with salt and black pepper, then let it reduce.

Once the pasta is done to al dente, drain it then add to the sauté pan with the lemon sauce. Add a splash of cream and allow it to reduce and stir to coat the pasta.

A bowl of lemon butter pasta with ham and white asparagus topped with golden herbed bread crumbs.

How to Make Ham Asparagus Lemon Butter Pasta

To begin, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta to the boiling water then reduce to medium high heat. Cook pasta until just al dente (just a bit of resistance) then drain the water, reserving 1 cup of the liquid.

Meanwhile, wash asparagus thoroughly and holding each end, bend the asparagus. It will break nearest the thick fibrous end. Discard the end or freeze to add to soup stock. Cut each stalk of asparagus into 1 inch pieces.

Place asparagus in a large skillet and add 1 cup water. Cover and allow to steam on medium heat until asparagus softens. Drain water from asparagus and add ham to the pan.

A bowl of lemon butter pasta with ham and white asparagus topped with golden herbed bread crumbs.

Sauté the diced ham with the asparagus in the large skillet over medium heat. Add the leftover hollandaise, along with the lemon juice (and zest) then stir to coat.

Allow the hollandaise to melt and mix into the pasta, then gradually add reserved pasta water 1/4 cup at a time, as needed to achieve a sauce. You might not use all of the pasta water.

Season the sauce with salt and pepper (or maybe some red pepper flakes) then portion into bowls. Top each bowl of pasta with pangrattato to finish (optional).

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

If you have leftovers of your leftovers…count yourself lucky! They make a great lunch the next or for the next several days, up to a week.

Store them in the fridge in an airtight container or freeze them for up to one month. I have switched all of my storage container to glass instead of plastic so they can go straight from the fridge to the microwave.

To reheat, microwave the leftovers until they reach an internal temperature of 74ºC (165ºF).

Close up of lemon butter pasta with ham and white asparagus topped with golden herbed bread crumbs.

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Yield: 4 servings

Ham Asparagus Lemon Butter Pasta

A bowl of lemon butter pasta with ham and white asparagus topped with golden herbed bread crumbs.

White asparagus meets leftover ham in a stunning Spring inspired lemon butter pasta dinner recipe. Make it in 30 minutes or less!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (500 g) dried malfada pasta (or your favourite shape)
  • 1 lb (500 g) white asparagus; or green
  • 2-3 cups diced ham
  • 1/2 cup leftover Hollandaise Sauce
  • 1 lemon; zested and juiced
  • 1/2 - 1/3 cup reserved hot pasta water
  • pangrattato (optional)

Instructions

  1. Set a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions minus two minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, wash asparagus thoroughly and holding each end, bend the asparagus. It will break nearest the thick fibrous end. Discard the end or freeze to add to soup stock. Cut each stalk of asparagus into 1 inch pieces.
  3. Place asparagus in a large sauté pan and add 1 cup water. Cover and allow to steam on medium high heat until asparagus softens.
  4. Drain water from asparagus and add ham to the pan. Reheat thoroughly.
  5. Drain pasta, reserving one cup of the hot pasta water.
  6. Add pasta to the pan with the asparagus and ham, then add the leftover hollandaise sauce, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
  7. Allow the hollandaise to melt and mix into the pasta, then gradually add reserved pasta water as needed to achieve a sauce.
  8. Top with pangrattato to finish (optional).

Notes

*Nutritional value is calculated without the pangrattato topping.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 503Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 261mgSodium: 2485mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 48g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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26 comments

  1. Chef Dennis

    This Ham Asparagus Lemon Butter Pasta will surely make our tummy very satisfied! It looks absolutely scrumptious.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I hope you enjoy it Dennis. Thank you for stopping by.

      Reply

  2. Sharon

    The asparagus and ham are perfect together, but then adding the lemon and creamy Hollandaise making it pasta perfection.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      You bet. It’s a winning combo!

      Reply

  3. amyg

    Pasta is definitely our family’s weakness and this recipe is no exception. A great combination of of flavors and healthy vegetables. A winning dinner idea!

    Reply

  4. Kate

    My family and I really enjoyed this lemon butter pasta! Even got the kids eating asparagus. Certainly making this again!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Great to hear!! It’s a good easy, family style dinner with little effort.

      Reply

  5. Marisa F Stewart

    This is just the type of meal our family loves. The stores are loaded with asparagus and I already had ham in the freezer. The dish whips up in no time and the family ate it like it was a dish fit for a celebration. The pangrattato on top finished it perfectly.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Pefect!! Yes, you can’t forget that pangrattato!

      Reply

  6. Beth

    There are few things better than a really good dish made from leftovers, and this looks like one of them. Great idea to use the hollandaise and add more lemon too!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Thank you Beth. I remember my mom always saying the best cooks can whip up an entirely new dish with leftovers. So, I’ve made that my mission.

      Reply

  7. Amanda Dixon

    We fell in love with this pasta! The hollandaise sauce gave it such a wonderful, decadent touch. We will definitely make this dish again!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It is pretty decadent…and tasty too!

      Reply

  8. EA Stewart

    Love this recipe for my family because my vegetarian daughter can eat it without the ham. Asparagus and pasta is a perfect combo IMO-so delicious!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Ah yes, I was once in your position. You can get pretty good at making dishes that suit everyone in the family.

      Reply

  9. nancy

    yummy sounds like such a delish breakfast type pasta dish!!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I don’t know…I suppose so. We ate ours for dinner.

      Reply

  10. Melanie

    This was delicious and my kids loved it. I love the fact that I can use my leftovers to make this! Great idea!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I love making entirely new dishes with leftovers, especially when they are this tasty.

      Reply

  11. Terri Gilson

    Always searching for leftover ham recipes! I love asparagus as much as I love ham! Thanks for this:)

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Me too! They go together so well.

      Reply

  12. Enriqueta E Lemoine

    I love that you choose white asparagus instead of green ones. I love pasta and asparagus and this is my kind of dish!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Same! Great minds think alike…

      Reply

  13. Jen

    Yumm! I love the fact that you used malfada pasta. I do not use it very often but I will try it with this recipe. Thanks for sharing this delicious dish.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It’s a really fun pasta shape and holds the sauce very nicely.

      Reply

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