1. Add your olive oil to a large sauce pan to heat up. Then add in your diced onions and let them cook for a few minutes, until they are fragrant and translucent. Add in the cubed ham pieces and cook it for a few minutes, until nice and crispy. 2. Stir in 2 cups of the pesto. Then slowly pour in some of the heavy cream, while you’re stirring it into the sauce. 3. Turn the heat down to low to simmer the sauce, while you cook the pasta. 4. Boil a large pot of water, and add the pasta and a pinch of salt to the pot to cook the pasta according to the package directions, until al dente. Drain the pasta, and add it back to the pot. 5. Add the pasta sauce to the pasta, and stir it to coat. Add additional pesto, or heavy cream if desired for a saucier pasta. Sprinkle in chili powder, and chopped walnuts if desired. 6. Serve with fresh grated parmesan cheese.
If you can’t find casarecce pasta, you can use other short pastas. Some good options would be fusilli or cavatappi, but your favorite type of pasta should work. I haven’t tried, but you should be able to substitute your favorite gluten-free pasta too. Don’t let the pasta noodles cool before tossing them with the pesto. The pesto will stick to the pasta much better when it is till warm. Instead of diced ham, try adding cooked Italian sausage, or bacon to the pasta. Garnish the pasta with some fresh basil or fresh shredded parmesan cheese.