Springtime Asparagus and Ham Pasta

We eagerly await spring with the first stalks of asparagus. Enjoy them with pasta in this easy-to-make sauce.

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Servings: 4-6

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  • 3 cups (750 mL) penne pasta, about 8 oz (250 g)
  • 1 bunch Ontario Asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) butter
  • 1 Ontario Onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) sodium reduced chicken broth or low-fat milk
  • 1 cup (250 mL) diced Ontario Smoked Ham (about 4 oz/125 g)
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) grated lemon rind
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) fresh thyme
  • Pinch pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) grated Ontario Asiago Cheese


In large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until almost tender; about 8 minutes. Add asparagus; cook until pasta and asparagus are tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain and place in large warm bowl.

Meanwhile, in saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in flour, then gradually whisk in broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat and add ham, lemon rind, mustard, thyme and pepper; simmer a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 cup (250 mL) of the cheese just until melted; remove from heat. Pour sauce over pasta and asparagus; toss well. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Tip: Instead of Asiago try a well aged Ontario Cheddar cheese or smoked Cheddar.

Nutritional information

When recipe serves 6:

  • Protein: 17.0 grams
  • Fat: 14.0 grams
  • Carbohydrate: 39.0 grams
  • Fibre: 2.0 grams
  • Calories: 358