Entree | Grocer to Table

Pasta with Peas and Ham

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Pasta with peas and ham is a classic Italian dish that combines the savory flavors of ham with the sweetness of peas and the comfort of pasta. This simple and satisfying recipe is easy to make and perfect for a quick, delicious weeknight dinner.

Pasta with peas and ham in a white bowl.Pin
Pasta with peas and ham

Pasta with peas and ham is a versatile pasta dish. Easily customize it to suit your tastes. 

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Whether you’re looking for an easy, fast weeknight dinner or a comforting meal to enjoy on a lazy weekend, pasta with peas and ham is a delicious and satisfying choice that will surely please your taste buds.

Why make it?

You should make pasta with peas and ham for several reasons. Here are a few:

  1. It’s easy to make: Pasta with peas and ham is a simple recipe that requires little time and effort to prepare. It’s perfect for busy weeknights when you need to quickly get dinner on the table.
  2. It’s delicious: The combination of savory ham, sweet peas, and creamy Parmesan cheese makes this dish a real crowd-pleaser. It’s comfort food at its finest.
  3. It’s versatile: You can customize this dish to suit your tastes by using different types of pasta, swapping out the ham for bacon or pancetta, or adding other ingredients like mushrooms or cherry tomatoes.
  4. It’s affordable: Pasta with peas and ham is a budget-friendly meal that won’t break the bank. You can easily feed your family for under $10.
  5. It’s a complete meal: This dish contains everything your body needs. Protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables, making it a well-rounded meal that will stick to your ribs.

Overall, pasta with peas and ham is a delicious and satisfying, easy-to-make, versatile, and budget-friendly. It’s an excellent choice for anyone who loves comfort food and wants to enjoy a tasty meal without spending hours in the kitchen.

What you need

  • Pasta: Cook it according to the directions until it is al dente.
  • Frozen peas: The peas add sweetness and color to the dish.
  • Ham: The ham adds a savory, salty flavor to the plate. If you have leftover ham this is the perfect dish to use it in.
  • Garlic: The garlic adds a pungent, aromatic taste.
  • Onion: The onion adds a sweet, mild flavor and texture.
  • Chicken broth: The chicken broth provides a savory base for the sauce.
  • Parmesan cheese: The cheese adds a nutty, salty taste and a creamy texture.
  • Olive oil: The olive oil is used to sauté the garlic and onion, adding a fruity, slightly bitter flavor.
  • Salt and black pepper: To taste. Salt is a flavor enhancer. It will brighten the flavors of the other ingredients, while pepper adds a spicy, aromatic note.

Optional ingredients:

  • Sliced mushrooms: Add sliced mushrooms to the sautéed garlic and onion to add earthy flavor and meaty texture.
  • Baby spinach leaves: Stir in some fresh baby spinach leaves just before serving for a pop of green color and extra nutrition.
  • Cherry tomatoes: Halved cherry tomatoes can add sweetness and acidity to the dish.

How to make it

Step One

Add olive oil or butter to a large skillet.

Sauté until the onion is golden. Then add the garlic, just for a minute or two.

Garlic and onion sautéing in a large skillet.Pin
Sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until golden.

Step Two

Add the broth and heat through.

Broth added to skillet.Pin
Add chicken broth.

Step Three

Stir in the ham and heat that through over medium heat.

Ham added to skillet.Pin
Add ham to warm through.

Step Four

Season with salt and pepper.

Spices added.Pin
Add the spices.

Step Five

Stir in the cream, the frozen peas, and the cheese. Combine.

Peas and cream added.Pin
Add the peas, cheese, and the cream.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot according to the package directions.

Step Six

Toss al dente pasta with the sauce and about one cup of the pasta cooking water.

Cooked pasta added.Pin
Add the cooked pasta and a cup of the pasta cooking water.

Garnish with fresh basil. Serve immediately.


  1. Bacon instead of ham: Swap out the ham for bacon to give the dish a smoky, savory flavor.
  2. Pancetta instead of ham: Like bacon, pancetta is a cured meat substituted for ham. It’s slightly sweeter than bacon and has a more delicate flavor.
  3. Add mushrooms: Saute some sliced mushrooms with the garlic and onions for added texture and flavor.
  4. Add spinach: Stir in some fresh baby spinach leaves just before serving for a pop of green color and extra nutrition.
  5. Use different pasta shapes: Experiment with varying pasta shapes, such as penne, rigatoni, or farfalle, to change up the texture of the dish.
  6. Add heavy cream or half-and-half: Add a splash of heavy cream or half-and-half to the pan with the chicken broth and peas for a creamier sauce.
  7. Use different cheeses: Instead of Parmesan cheese, use Pecorino Romano, Asiago, or Gruyere for a different flavor profile.
  8. Use fresh parsley to garnish instead of or in addition to the fresh basil.

These are a few variations you can try to give your pasta with peas and ham dish a unique twist. Get creative and try different flavors and ingredients until you find your perfect combination.

Pasta loaded with ham and peas in a white bowl.Pin

What pasta to use

The best shape is a personal preference for pasta with peas and ham. However, there are a few pasta shapes that work particularly well with this dish:

  1. Linguini: Linguini is a long, thin pasta similar to spaghetti but slightly wider. It has a flat shape making it ideal for holding onto sauces and other ingredients, and it’s an excellent choice for a variety of pasta dishes, including pasta with peas and ham.
  2. Penne: Penne is a tube-shaped pasta that is slightly wider than spaghetti. Its ridged exterior helps to hold onto the sauce, and its shape is ideal for catching peas and bits of ham.
  3. Farfalle: Farfalle, also known as bow-ties, has a unique shape reminiscent of a butterfly. Its flat, wide surface area makes it perfect for capturing bits of ham and peas, and it looks particularly pretty on the plate.
  4. Fusilli: Fusilli is a spiral-shaped pasta that is excellent for trapping sauce and other ingredients. Its shape also gives the dish a fun, playful appearance.
  5. Orecchiette: Orecchiette is a small, ear-shaped pasta commonly used in southern Italian cuisine. Its shape is perfect for holding onto bits of ham and peas, and it has a good chewy texture that pairs well with the other ingredients.

Ultimately, the best pasta shape is the one you like the most. If you prefer elbow macaroni, use it. It will also hold onto the sauce well. Feel free to experiment with different shapes to find your favorite.

How to store leftovers

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Do not freeze.

Helpful Tools

More delicious pasta recipes

Bowl of creamy pasta on white board. Pin
Creamy Pasta with Peas and Ham

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Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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Pasta with peas and ham in a white bowl garnished with fresh basil.Pin

Pasta with Peas and Ham

Pasta with peas and ham is a classic Italian dish that combines the savory flavors of ham with the sweetness of peas and the comfort of pasta.
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: entree, Main Course
Cuisine: European, Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 783kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $10


  • ½ pound pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ham
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • fresh basil


  • Add olive oil or butter to the skillet. Sauté onion until soft and golden. Add garlic and cook for a couple minutes until soft.
    1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ cup onion, diced, 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Chop ham into 1 to 2 inch cubes.
    1 pound ham
  • Add ham and chicken broth to the skillet. Cook for a couple of minutes until heated through.
    1 cup chicken broth
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.
    ½ pound pasta
  • Add cream, spices, peas, and Parmesan cheese to the skillet. Continue to heat on very low heat until pasta is done.
    1 cup heavy cream, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • Drain pasta reserving about one cup of the pasta cooking water.
  • Add the cooking and pasta to the skillet. Toss to coat. Garnish with fresh basil. Serve immediately.
    fresh basil
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The basil in this pasta dish is not just a pretty garnish. It is important to add it for the flavor.
Cook pasta al dente.
Do not overheat the dish after adding the cream. Keep the burner on the lowest setting.
This is a great use for your leftover holiday ham.
Store leftovers in the fridge for 3-4 days. Do not freeze.


Calories: 783kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 147mg | Sodium: 2366mg | Potassium: 571mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 977IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 219mg | Iron: 2mg
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Originally published May 3, 2023.

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