Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ham Pasta Salad

A classic ham and pasta salad that begins with your favorite pasta, ham, shredded or cubed cheese, celery, onion, and a Ranch dressing. From there you should make it your own!
A classic ham and pasta salad that begins with your favorite pasta, ham, shredded or cubed cheese, celery, onion, and a Ranch dressing. From there you should make it your own!

Ham Pasta Salad

This pasta salad made with ham is a southern classic for sure and great for a potluck or church supper any time of year. Very simple, but a true favorite of mine.

If you don't have leftover ham or ham that you've previously frozen, just pick up a ham steak from the meat department, or ask the deli to slice you a 1/4 to 1/2 inch slice of ham. As far as pasta, while elbow macaroni is the most traditional for this one, vary the type of pasta that you use according to what you have on hand. I used farfalle (bow tie) because I had an open box in the pantry, but pretty much any medium cut pasta you favor for pasta salads is fine.

As always with pasta salads, lots of add-ins work well here too of course, so use your favorites. Things like chopped, boiled eggs, sweet or sour chopped pickles or pickle relish, chopped red, orange, green or yellow sweet bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, black or green olives, frozen, thawed peas, or peeled and chopped cucumber, are a few good choices you may enjoy. Here's how to make it.

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Recipe: Ham Pasta Salad

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 20 min |Inactive time: 2 hours | Yield: About 8 servings

Ingredients
  • 1 pound of your favorite medium cut pasta (bowties, medium shells, elbow macaroni, rotini), cooked
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 2 cups of chopped ham
  • 1/2 cup of chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup of chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 cup of shredded or cubed cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup of grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of pickle juice, optional
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 packet of dry ranch dressing mix
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional Add-ins: Chopped boiled eggs, sweet or sour chopped pickles, or pickle relish, chopped red, green or yellow sweet bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, black or green olives, frozen peas, peeled and chopped cucumber.
Instructions

Cook macaroni noodles according to package directions; rinse and drain. Drizzle lightly with the olive oil. To the pasta add the ham, celery, Vidalia onion, green onion, cheese and sliced tomatoes, along with any additional add-ins; toss and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the pickle juice, mayonnaise, milk, ranch seasoning mix, and salt and pepper. Pour over the macaroni and toss to coat thoroughly; taste and adjust seasonings. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Toss before serving, adding additional milk up to 1/4 cup, if needed to moisten.

Cook's Notes: I usually wait to add my tomato just before serving, as the juices tend to water down the salad. May substitute 1 cup of homemade or commercial Ranch dressing. May also use 2 cups of chopped or shredded cooked chicken, or other proteins such as crab, imitation crab and shrimp, in place of the ham.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com 

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