Christmas at my grandparents’ house growing up meant lots of fish. Seven fishes, to be exact.
However, sometimes, there would also be a lonesome ham. Or, my mother would prepare a ham for leftovers (since fish leftovers just aren’t a thing.)
For those of you who don’t do fish on Christmas and do ham instead (or if you’re like my crazy ma and you make a whole ham just for leftovers), today’s recipe is for you: use those leftovers!
Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas but you like ham (or pancetta), this dish will soon become a permanent installation into your weekday dinner rotation: it’s that good.
I don’t know if it’s the slightly sweet nuttiness of the parsnips that are cooked in the sweety and savory meat OR the robust flavors in the chicken broth simmered butternut squash sauce, but the flavors in this recipe work… real well.
I love the crumbling of the fried sage on top (which sets the pace for the entire recipe since the butternut squash is cooked in the sage-infused oil.) It gives the dish a pretty deep green sprinkling of color and it adds so much flavor. Plus, well, who doesn’t love sage? Especially in the wintertime!
The sauce is effortless – just simmer butternut squash cubes with some pressed garlic, red pepper flakes and shallots in chicken broth and then puree into a blender and voila: a healthy, clean-eating friendly sauce that’s really versatile (it’ll work on anything!)
The trickiest part of this recipe is finding large parsnips (it can be tough!) However, if you can’t find large ones, just spiralize more of the smaller parsnips.
I used pancetta in this recipe, which is the “Italian bacon,” but you can use regular ‘ole ham also. Pancetta’s a bit sweeter, but the flavors will all work famously together – whether it’s that leftover Christmas ham, pancetta or just, ham.
And if you don’t celebrate Christmas and just want to make this recipe, I don’t blame you – I’m definitely going to be eating it past Christmastime!
What are you cooking on Christmas (if you celebrate)?
Nutritional Information & Recipe
Parsnip Noodles with Leftover Christmas Ham and Butternut Squash-Sage Sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 sage leaves
- 1.5 cups cubed butternut squash
- 1 large shallot minced
- 2 garlic cloves pressed
- pinch of red pepper flakes less than ¼ teaspoon
- freshly ground sea salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3 large parsnips or 4-5 small ones
- 3/4 cup cubed leftover Christmas ham or cubed pancetta
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once the oil heats, add the sage and cook until crispy. Set the sage aside on a paper-towel lined plate.
- Immediately add in the butternut squash, shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until onion is translucent. Pour in the broth and raise the heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the squash is softened, 15-20 minutes.
- While the squash cooks, peel and spiralize the parsnips. Set aside.
- Once the squash mixture is softened and easily pierced with a fork, transfer to a high-speed blender. Wipe down the pot and set aside. Blend the squash mixture until smooth, about 1 minute. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your preference. If the mixture is too thick, add in vegetable broth.
- If not using leftover Christmas ham: Set the pot down over medium heat and once heated, add in the ham or pancetta and cook for 5 minutes or until cooked through and starting to brown on edges. Then, add in the parsnip noodles, cover and toss to cook for 5 more minutes or until al dente. Then, add in the squash sauce and toss altogether to warm sauce. Crumble the sage on top and serve immediately.
- If using leftover Christmas ham: Set the pot down over medium heat and once heated, add in the ham, squash sauce and parsnip noodles, toss and cook for 5-7 minutes or until noodles al dente. Crumble the fried sage on top and serve immediately.