This easy ham and pea pasta recipe is simple and quick for a weeknight dinner that your whole family will love. Made with short pasta, ham, peas, cream, and cheese, this creamy one pot pasta dish is ready in less than 30 minutes.
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Easy one pot ham and pea pasta
If you’re looking for a quick and easy pasta dish for your supper, this ham and pea pasta recipe is your answer. The meal is on the table in less than 30 minutes and you safe on dishes because it’s a simple one pot recipe!
Pasta goes so well with chewy ham, sweet peas, and the aromatic taste of yellow onions. And the creamy sauce made with heavy cream, broth, and parmesan cheese ties it all together. The recipe is also very kid friendly. Even fussy eaters will be happy to load up their plate!
Pasta is always a huge hit with my family. Other favorites at our house are this easy salmon pasta recipe, sheet pan gnocchi, gnocchi bake, ravioli soup, and this Instant Pot pasta primavera from Mama Needs Cake.
What is creamy pasta with ham and peas?
Ham and peas pasta is a creamy pasta dish made with short pasta, ham, peas, cream, and parmesan. In Italy, this meal is called “Pasta alla Papalina” and usually prepared with fettuccine (a pasta shaped like long, flat ribbons).
Is it the same as ham and peas pasta carbonara? I’m gonna say no because pasta carbonara usually contains eggs and my simple one pot recipe uses heavy cream instead of eggs.
Ham and pea pasta ingredients
- Pasta: You can use any short pasta of your choice. This ham and pea pasta tastes delicious with bow tie pasta (farfalle), rigatoni, fusilli, penne, orecchiette, and macaroni. I used gnocchi shells because they hold the sauce and look beautiful.
- Ham: Use whatever ham you like best. Cooked ham, picnic ham, country ham, Canadian bacon, or black forest ham are delicious options for creamy ham pasta. I often use leftover ham for this recipe. Ham varies in saltiness, so be sure to taste first and just the salt as needed.
- Peas: You can use fresh or frozen peas for this creamy ham pasta recipe. Frozen peas don’t have to be thawed. You can add them straight from the freezer.
- Onion adds so much aroma to this ham and pasta dish. Chop up a large yellow onion or use 1/4 cup frozen onion.
- Heavy cream is part of the cooking liquids and coats every bite of pasta. I prefer heavy cream for the richest results, but share other options in the FAQ section.
- Broth makes up the liquids to cook this easy one pot pasta recipe. It makes the pasta extra flavorful, and you can use any broth available to you. Beef stock, chicken stock, or vegetable broth will all work well.
- Parmesan (optional): Slightly salty parmesan adds even more flavor and creaminess. You can use a pre-shredded cheese or buy a whole block and grate it yourself with a cheese grater or in the food processor.
- Salt and pepper according to your taste.I like to season this dish with fine sea salt and ground black pepper. A few cracks of black pepper before serving make the ham peas pasta look more enticing.
How to make ham and pea pasta
Here are the simple steps for making one pot ham and pea pasta:
Step 1: Prep
- Add the cubed ham, peas, chopped onion, and pasta into a large pot. Add the heavy cream and broth and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Cook with the pot uncovered.
Step 2: Simmer
- Once the liquids boil, reduce the heat to medium and let the pasta simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the pasta is al dente.
- Stir occasionally as the one pot pasta cooks.
Step 3: Season
- When the pasta is done, remove the pot from the heat.
- Stir in the grated parmesan cheese and season the pea and ham pasta with fine sea salt and ground black pepper according to your taste.
Step 4: Serve
- Serve the one pot ham pasta warm with salad on the side.
- Optionally, sprinkle grated parmesan and black pepper over the pasta right before serving.
Watch the recipe video in this post to see how simple this creamy ham pasta recipe is. The ingredient amounts can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.
Ham pea pasta variations
Ham and pea pasta bake
Pasta bakes are a great make-ahead meal. You can assemble the dish in advance and refrigerated until it’s time to eat. Ham pasta bakes stores for up to 3 days in the fridge. To make a ham and pea pasta bake, follow these steps:
- Prepare the ham and pea pasta according to the recipe.
- Transfer the pasta into a well—greased casserole dish and sprinkle generously with shredded cheese (e.g., cheddar or mozzarella.) If using a Dutch oven or cast-iron pot, bake the pasta directly in the pot.
- Preheat to oven to 350°F / 180° / gas mark 4.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the cheese is melted and looks golden brown.
Pasta with ham and broccoli
Ham pasta with broccoli is another tasty variation of this recipe. All you do is swapping out the peas for 2 cups frozen broccoli and follow the recipe instructions.
If using fresh broccoli florets, add them 7 minutes before the cooking time is up. Broccoli can become mushy if cooked too long.
How many people does this one pot pasta feed?
This ham pea pasta recipe yields 4 servings if served as a main course. If you want to serve your pasta with peas and ham as an entrée, you could get 6 servings out of the recipe.
What do you need to make one pot pasta?
The most essential tool is a large pot. I used large cast iron Dutch oven. It’s a great quality and looks pretty enough to serve the ham and peas pasta in. You’ll also want to grab a cutting board, kitchen knife, and cooking spoon.
Which ham is best to use?
One pot pasta is one of the best leftover ham recipes because it works with many varieties of ham. You can choose any ham that suits your taste and budget. My family likes cooked ham, but smoked ham, sandwich ham, serrano ham, or black forest ham are also tasty options.
Can I use prosciutto instead of ham?
Absolutely! Prosciutto is a type of dry-cured ham and is very similar to ham in taste and texture. However, prosciutto is often saltier than ham, so you may have to reduce the amount of salt in this ham and peas recipe.
Do you cook frozen peas first?
No, you don’t have to cook or even thaw frozen peas first. Simply add them with the other ingredients and they will be perfectly tender by the end of the cooking time. I told you this recipe was super easy, right?
Can you use canned sweet peas in place of frozen?
Yes, you can prepare ham pasta with canned sweet peas. The recipe instructions remain the same. You want to use unsalted peas without any extra flavorings. And be sure to rinse and drain the peas well before adding them to the pasta.
Can you make ham and pea pasta with milk?
No, I don’t recommend using milk, half-and-half or another milk substitute in place of heavy cream to make pasta with ham and peas. The creamy one pot pasta will turn out better with a liquid that has a high fat content.
Can you make ham pasta without cream?
Yes, but you want to swap out heavy cream for another creamy ingredient. Here are a few tasty options for creamy pasta with peas:
- Crème fraiche
- Double cream
- Cream cheese
You can use all the above options as a 1-to-1 substitute for heavy cream. The flavor and texture is going to vary slightly for each ingredient but the end result is nonetheless delicious.
I don’t recommend sour cream in this recipe because it tends to curdle.
Can you make dairy-free ham and pea pasta?
Yes, you can prepare dairy free ham and pea pasta! Substitute the heavy cream for coconut milk and omit the cheese. For more dairy-free pasta dishes, try my dairy free salmon pasta recipe. It’s one of our most popular dinner ideas.
How to store leftover ham pasta
Store leftover ham pasta in an airtight container in the fridge.
How to reheat this ham pasta recipe
Gently reheat the creamy pea pasta in a hot pan with oil, or in the microwave just until hot. Do not reheat in boiling water or the pasta will become mushy.
How long does creamy it last?
Store this pasta recipe in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days
Can you make ham pasta with peas ahead?
Yes, you can prepare ham pea pasta ahead of time. As mentioned earlier, I like to turn this recipe into a ham and pea pasta bake. Cover the casserole dish with foil and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to eat, simply bake in a preheated oven (350°F / 180° / gas mark 4) for 20 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Can you freeze ham and pea pasta?
Yes, you can freeze leftover ham pasta for up to 2 months. Let the dish cool completely then transfer it into a freezer safe food container, and freeze. Let thaw overnight in the fridge when you’re ready to enjoy your pasta.