Ham and Peas Pasta is a light, creamy pasta that's perfect for lunch or dinner and comes together in about 30 minutes. This dish is made with bow tie pasta noodles, diced ham, peas, tossed in a basil cream sauce.
Pasta comes in all shapes and sizes with all kinds of sauces and add-ins. There are so many varieties that you could probably eat pasta every day for a month and never eat the same one twice.
We love a good pasta dish, especially when it's light and full of flavor. A couple of my favorites our Garlic Parmesan Pasta and Rigatoni Caprese Pasta, and John and Kale enjoy Mushroom Pesto Pasta and Chicken and Noodles.
This ham and peas pasta is another favorite around our house. It only takes about 30 minutes to make from start to finish and has a light, creamy, basil cream sauce that pairs well with the diced ham and peas.
How to make ham and peas pasta:
The fastest way to make this pasta is to cook the bow tie noodles while you make the cream sauce. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add the noodles.
Use either mini bow ties (farfalle) or regular size. While those cook, heat a medium skillet over low to medium heat.
Add the oil and garlic, and cook for about 30 seconds to a minute, just long enough for the garlic to become fragrant.
Next, add the diced ham and frozen peas. I use a good quality ham steak diced into ½-inch chunks, but you could use leftover ham or pre-diced ham.
Keep in mind that many types of ham have a sodium solution added, so there's a good chance that they'll release much of that into the pan. If there's a lot of excess liquid after a few minutes of cooking, be sure to drain it off before adding the heavy cream and broth.
After the ham and peas cook for 3 to 5 minutes, add the chicken broth, heavy cream, basil, and thyme. Increase the heat some and bring the liquid to a simmer.
Cook at a simmer for several minutes until the sauce thickens a bit. At this point, if you haven't already, check the noodles for the desired doneness, drain, and set aside.
Remove the sauce from heat, and add the Parmesan cheese. Taste, then season with salt and pepper.
Toss with cooked noodles, and serve hot. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Can you use prosciutto in place of ham?
Absolutely! Prosciutto would make a great substitute for ham in the is dish.
Can you use fresh herbs in place of dried herbs?
Yes. If you’d prefer to use fresh herbs in place of dry herbs in the ham and peas pasta, simply swap out 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs for every 1 teaspoon of dried. I’d wait to add them at the end with the Parmesan cheese.
Can you use milk or a milk substitute in place of heavy cream?
We don’t recommend using milk, a milk substitute, or half and half in place of the heavy cream. The high fat content of the heavy cream is needed to make the creamy sauce in this recipe.
Can you use canned sweet peas in place of frozen?
Yes, canned peas can be used in place of frozen. Drain them well, and don’t cook them but a minute or two. They’re already very soft, so you don’t want them turning to mush.
Recipe Card with Ingredient Amounts and Instructions
- 8 ounces bow tie pasta, cooked (We used mini, but regular will also work.)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 1 ½ cups diced country ham
- 6 ounces frozen peas
- ¾ cup chicken broth
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded off the block
- 1 teaspoon dried basil, dried
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme, dried (optional)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta until it’s al dente. Drain, and set aside.8 ounces bow tie pasta
- In a medium saucepan or skillet over low to medium heat, add the olive oil and garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds to a minute, then add the ham and frozen peas. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes.2 tablespoons olive oil3 garlic cloves1 ½ cups diced country ham6 ounces frozen peas
- Pour in the chicken broth, heavy cream, basil, and thyme. Stir to combine, and continue to cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens, about 5 to 7 minutes.¾ cup chicken broth¾ cup heavy cream1 teaspoon dried basil½ teaspoon dried thyme
- Remove from heat, and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Taste, and season with salt and pepper if desired. Stir in the cooked noodles.½ cup parmesan cheeseSalt and pepper
- Serve hot with additional cheese, or a sprinkle of fresh basil or thyme.
- Please see information in the post/article for answers to frequently asked questions.