Pasta with Ham and Peas

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

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 3/4 pound fusili pasta
  • Salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 Tbsp)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced ham
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 cup of 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.

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  • adie

    Elise, your recipes are a class apart, and I love the stories that come with them. You may have more contributors, but it is your recipes that i look forward to the most.


  • kevin

    Just Great! Thank You

  • Amanda

    My family, especially my two boys, love it. Quick, easy and delicious.


  • Pip

    Tried this..made exact. Was not “creamy” more liquid sauce than anything…

  • Eleni

    Easy and delicious way to use up extra ham. My husband (who isn’t a huge fan of ham) loved it, too!


  • Stephanie

    Perfect for using extra ham! I especially enjoy the flavor of the lemon zest coming through. Thanks :)

  • Laura

    For the cream, should it be heavy whipping cream or something different? Thanks!

  • Marita

    Just finished making this recipe, and WOW is it delicious! Need to stop ‘testing’ or I’ll have to get the family take out!


  • Evelyn

    I was skeptical, but this was very good. I had to leave out the lemon zest but it was tasty all the same. I’ll make this quick, easy dish again.

  • Gloria

    I had no cream but had some cream cheese, so I added it to the “sauce”. Turned out delicious!

  • Trish

    This was so good!!! Love fast, easy and yummy meals! My 3 kids all loved it too!

  • Mel

    Tried this last night, substituting green peas with edamame. So delish!!! Thanks for all the wonderful recipes, Elise!

  • Kate

    This is comfort food at its finest. I have a feeling it will be a regular stand-by at our house!

  • Maureen Irvine

    Oh this is such a lovely dish, good at any time and can be easily halved or multiplied as numbers dictate.

  • Teel

    I made this last night with left over ham. The only changes I made were to use noodles instead of fusili and the addition of some spaghetti squash to get in more veggies. It was delicious! I love delicious + easy!! I’m sure I will make this again.

  • Dorothy

    I would not try freezing it but it keeps well for 2 or 3 days in the fridge. As for serving it cold, I make something just like this with either chicken or ham and instead of the cream and water I add a salad dressing for summer time. It is great

  • Kate

    Any idea if this dish reheats well? This looks great but I know there will be leftovers since there are only two of us.

  • David Shannon

    can it be severed cold or room temp?

  • Mary

    I made this last night with a left over ham from the holidays. It was perfect! encourage this recipe especially if you have a lot of mouths to feed. great quantity!

  • Heather Hildebrand

    I make a pizza with prosciutto, peas, mint, mozz and parm with a bechamel sauce, and this reminded me of it! May try to make it with mint next week to see how it works!

  • Heather Hildebrand

    Ever tried adding fresh mint to this? I bet it’d be delicious!

  • Renee

    Wonderful! Anything with cream in it is going to be delicious! :) Will switch out the ham for chicken just because that’s what we do.

  • Joanna

    Yay! Something simple, delicious, true. Something that does not require slaving over the hot hob for hours, does not need fancy equipment to cook it, serve it, eat it! And it’s pasta! What can be better! :)

  • Trine

    So simple, and so delicious – I love it!

  • Monica

    I make this exact same thing except I throw some frozen corn in too. (My kids love corn in pretty much everything…)

    It’s so easy and fast and filling- a great budget stretcher or just end-of-the-week-and-don’t-want-to-go-to-the-store meal.