Creamy Pale Ale Pasta with Ham, Peas, and Mushrooms

We had some friends over for a holiday get-together on Saturday night and served a spiral sliced ham from Costco. While Costco's craft beers are mediocre, their ham is excellent! Even though everyone liked it, we still had plenty of leftovers and I expect I'll be eating ham & cheese sandwiches for the rest of the week.

Every now and then, I like to cook, so I decided to use the ham and make a pasta dish. I found a recipe online and decided to try it. The recipe called for white wine. 

While there's nothing wrong with wine, it just wasn't going to happen in my house. Good beer is also an excellent ingredient. It serves as both a seasoning agent and a cooking liquid. I decided to use a Pale Ale as a substitute for the white wine. I opened my beer fridge, found a Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale, and was ready to go!

Here's the complete recipe from I pretty much followed it as listed. In addition to swapping out the wine with Pale Ale, I added some red onion, and used spinich spaghetti instead of tortellini. Overall, I'm really happy with how it turned out! A touch of hoppy bitterness from the beer remained in the finished dish. It wasn't overwhelming and melded nicely with the other savory flavors. If you're looking for ways to use your leftover holiday ham, give this recipe a try.

Have you used beer in cooking? What are your favorite recipes?

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