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Creamy Penne Pasta With Ham and Peas

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“I tried to copy a wonderful dish I had at a small local Italian restaurant and this one turned out WONDERFUL (for a lot less money too!) The flavors are excellent and it's a totally new way to use up leftover ham. The crispy ham reminds me of pancetta. This is a very forgiving recipe and many different vegetables can be added to your liking, try sauteed zucchini with the peas, or mushrooms, broccoli, etc.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Bring large pot of water to boil and add pasta, cooking to al dente.
  2. Add peas last 2-3 minutes to pasta.
  3. Scoop out 1 cup pasta water, then drain, and place in a large serving dish.
  4. Whisk flour into milk (or shake together in a jar) till mixed well.
  5. In skillet, pour olive oil in and add ham, cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until ham is crispy. Remove to paper towel to drain.
  6. In sauce pan, melt butter (or use more olive oil) and saute garlic over medium low for about 2-3 minutes (if you love garlic, feel free to add more!).
  7. Whisk in milk/flour mixture and add chipped cream cheese, whisking till melted into sauce smoothly. Add Parmesan cheese and whisk till incorporated.
  8. In large dish with pasta and peas, toss in crispy ham, and any other vegetables you want (optional).
  9. Pour sauce over pasta and mix, pouring in pasta water till nice and creamy.
  10. Top with more parmesan and fresh ground pepper.
  11. serve immediately with tossed salad and garlic bread. YUM!

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