Jumbo Pasta shells are filled with ham, sweet potato spinach and ricotta, then topped with cheese and baked to comforting perfection.

Leftover Ham Sweet Potato Ricotta Pasta Bake. Ricotta and sweet potato combine with leftover ham to create this comforting pasta bake.
 

What to do with leftover ham

I love all the fixings at Christmas. Turkey, ham, seafood, cranberry sauce, eggnog … if it screams Christmas, I want it. Being addicted to the magic of Christmas will do that to a person. It does mean I tend to have a lot of leftovers though. This is a good problem to have in more ways than one. Aside from being able to eat the best kind of leftovers for the next few days it also inspires new recipes to use up these leftovers.

 
If you’ve been wondering what to do with leftover ham this,, my friends, is what to do with leftover ham. It’s probably why you’re here right. This Leftover Ham, Sweet Potato and Ricotta Pasta Bake is soft, comforting and cheesy and perfect for using up those Christmas leftovers.
 

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Leftover Ham Sweet Potato Ricotta Pasta Bake. Ricotta and sweet potato combine with leftover ham to create this comforting pasta bake.
 
The ham gives a great salty punch and a little texture to an otherwise soft, mild and creamy flavour.
 
 
I just love these jumbo pasta shells for pasta bakes. They make for a great pasta to filling ratio and make portioning super easy. Sometimes I have trouble finding them though and in those instances cannelloni tubes or even lasagna sheets will work perfectly.
 
 
If you have a pan that goes from stovetop to oven, it’s perfect to use here as none of the flavour gets left behind by transferring to a casserole dish.
 
Leftover Ham Sweet Potato Ricotta Pasta Bake. Ricotta and sweet potato combine with leftover ham to create this comforting pasta bake.

 Notes, tips and tricks

  • Jumbo pasta shells – also known as conchiglie, these fit a good 2-3 tablespoons worth of filling. If you can’t find them, use cannelloni or lasagna sheets. Cook them in well salted boiling water until just al dente. They should still have a little bite to them as they will finish cooking in the oven.
  • Herbs – use fresh if you can. I love any excuse to use fresh herbs.
  • Sweet potato – the flesh cooks to smooth and creamy. You could substitute with pumpkin or butternut squash.
  • The cheeses – I use a lot of ‘light’ products (for waistline purposes) including the ricotta and cheddar in this recipe. If you prefer whole versions, go right ahead.

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Leftover Ham Sweet Potato Ricotta Pasta Bake. Ricotta and sweet potato combine with leftover ham to create this comforting pasta bake.

If you love sweet potato, try this Spiced Roast Sweet Potato Salad.

Leftover Ham Sweet Potato Ricotta Pasta Bake. Ricotta and sweet potato combine with leftover ham to create this comforting pasta bake.

Leftover Ham, Sweet Potato, Ricotta Pasta Bake

4 from 2 votes
Ricotta and sweet potato combine with leftover ham to create this comforting pasta bake.

Ingredients

  • 250 g jumbo pasta shells (notes)
  • 2 medium (650g) sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (notes)
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup (150g) ham, roughy chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (notes)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, finely chopped (notes)
  • 100 g fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 175 g (3/4 cup) light ricotta
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 75 g (1 cup) not packed light cheddar, coarsley grated
  • Salt and pepper to season

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 200C / 400F / 180C fan forced.

First two steps below can be done at same time.

  • Peel and chop potatoes into large chunks. Put them in cold water in saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. Drain. Mash and set aside.
  • Bring another pan of water to the boil. Add 1/2 tablespoon of salt and then the pasta and boil for 10 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water before draining the rest away. The pasta should not be cooked through.
  • Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes until softened.
  • Add the ham and thyme and sauté for a minute or so until the ham gets a little colour.
  • Add the spinach and allow it to wilt a little before turning off the heat.
  • Tip the cooked mixture into the bowl with the mashed sweet potato, then add the ricotta, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly.
  • Pour the reserved pasta water into a 6 cup capacity casserole dish (or the same pan you cooked everything in as long as it is oven safe).
  • Fill each shell with the filling and sit them side by side in the dish.
  • Sprinkle over the cheese and a little more salt & pepper.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until golden on top.

Notes

  1. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspoons worldwide)
  2. If you can't find jumbo pasta shells, you can use cannelloni tubes or lasagna sheets to make it in the form of lasagna
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