Pasta With Ham and Peas

Great use for leftover ham! Quick and easy, ham and peas with pasta, cream, and Parmesan.

Pasta with Ham and Peas
Elise Bauer

Every year, for the last 30 years at least, my parents and the neighbors on their small cul-de-sac throw a holiday party. The party used to be the progressive sort—appetizers at one house, the main at another, dessert and coffee at another.

These days, given that most of the revelers are now in their 80s, we keep the festivities to one house. It's always a lot of fun, with plenty of stories both old and new, told or retold with great relish each year.

As often the case with gatherings such as this, you are never quite sure how many people you will have showing up. It's the holidays, which means that friends and relatives will cancel or appear at the last minute. So even if you know for sure that certain people are coming, you're not entirely sure about their companions, and neither are they.

Are we having 14 people over? Or 20? This is why that in addition to the enchiladas I brought to our recent neighborhood holiday party I also brought a glazed ham. The great thing about a ham, is that if it doesn't get eaten, you have lots of wonderful ham for leftovers—ham sandwiches, ham salad, ham soup, and this quick and easy creamy pasta with ham and peas.

This pasta dish couldn't be easier and comes together as quickly as it takes to boil the pasta. It's also delicious. Peas and ham are a classic pairing in many global cuisines for a good reason. Add a little garlic, some Parmesan, pepper, and lemon zest, toss with the pasta and you're there!

Pasta with Ham and Peas
Elise Bauer

Pasta With Ham and Peas

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 4 servings

We are using frozen peas because it's that time of year, but in the spring you could easily use fresh peas.


  • 3/4 pound fusili pasta

  • Salt

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 1 1/2 cups diced ham

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas

  • 1/2 cup cream

  • 1 cup pasta cooking water (reserved from cooking the pasta)

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest


  1. Cook the pasta:

    Heat 4 quarts of water and 2 Tbsp salt in a large pot for the pasta. Once the water starts to boil, add the pasta and cook at a rolling boil, uncovered, until al dente, cooked through, but still a little firm to the bite (the low end of the cooking times given on the package). Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

  2. Heat butter, add garlic, add ham and peas:

    While you are cooking the pasta, heat the butter in a medium skillet on medium heat until melted. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the ham and the frozen peas.

  3. Add pasta water, cream, Parm, zest, salt, pepper to make sauce:

    Stir in 1 cup of the pasta cooking water which will help thaw the peas. Stir in 1/2 cup of cream, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and lemon zest.

  4. Toss pasta with sauce to serve:

    When the pasta is ready, toss it with the sauce in a serving bowl and serve.

Pasta with Ham and Peas
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
643 Calories
24g Fat
77g Carbs
30g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 643
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 13g 66%
Cholesterol 92mg 31%
Sodium 1124mg 49%
Total Carbohydrate 77g 28%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 7mg 36%
Calcium 170mg 13%
Iron 4mg 24%
Potassium 497mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.