Pasta with ham and peas

plate of pasta with ham and peas

It’s a bit of hyperbole to say that any pasta dish is comfort food since pasta by its nature is a plate of comfort. However, this dish is comfort food. Yes. I did go there.

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 enjoying a delicious meal!

Funnily enough the day I made this for dinner I discovered when I opened Instagram later in the evening that famous blogger/cook/tour leader/author Elizabeth Minchilli had whipped a similar dish up for guests in her home in Rome.

Clearly this is a dish that is to be enjoyed!

Part of moving entails cleaning out the freezers. This is a tricky endeavour but we’re plowing on. One of the things we had in the freezer was a big ham we picked up in the States. It was on sale. I LOVE American hams. I thought I’d serve it for Easter dinner (before I knew Easter would be spent in a hotel with the cats while prospective buyers toured the house).

I cooked the ham on Sunday which meant leftovers. This is one of my favourite ways to use up leftover ham.

plate of pasta with ham and peas

Pasta with Ham and Peas

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6


  • 3/4 pound fusili pasta
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced about 1 tablespoon
  • 1 1/2 cup diced ham if your ham is glazed cut the outer layer off before dicing it for this recipe
  • 1 1/2 cup peas
  • 1 cup pasta water reserve before you drain the pasta
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • salt, to taste because ham is often salty I never add extra salt to this dish.


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