Avocado and Ham Pasta al Forno

Or, in other words, avocado and ham baked pasta, but al forno sounds more sophisticated, as if getting baked in an Italian oven is somehow classier than in an English oven.

2 cups diced lean ham.
1 egg.
½ cup cream.
1 cup grated cheese.
1 avocado.
Dash cayenne.
3 cups pasta spirals.
1 tsp sweet paprika.

Dice the ham, place in a small bowl and set aside. Beat the egg and cream together in a bowl. Cut the avocado in half, remove and discard the stone, scoop out the flesh and beat into the egg mixture. Grate the cheese and beat half of it into the egg mixture with the cayenne pepper. Set aside the other half of the cheese.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta as per the instructions on the pack. Drain and place in a large bowl, reserving some of the liquor. Add the ham and the cheese mixture to the pasta and fold through. Add a little of the pasta liquor to allow the cheese mixture to form a sauce and pour into a baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and the paprika and place, uncovered, in the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown, and serve immediately with a fresh green salad.

If no avocados are available or too expensive, try substituting a can of asparagus pieces.

Serves: 2.

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