This farfalle with peas, ham, and cream is an easy Italian dinner recipe that can be made in less than 20 minutes.

One of my favorite times of the year to make this dish is just after a big holiday when the ham is served. I use the leftover ham to make this simple dish.

Farfalle with Peas, Ham and Cream

Not only does it help me to finish some leftovers, but it also makes for a great break from all the heavy eating. I call it transitional cooking.

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This wonderful creamy farfalle pasta recipe is super simple to make and a great way to use any leftover ham that you may have.

I selected farfalle, or bow ties, not because they are my favorite pasta but because the sauce sits nicely in the tiny bow part of the pasta so that you can enjoy all the beautiful flavors. 

Penne or rigatoni is an excellent alternate choice. Whichever pasta you choose, make sure that it is tubular and cooked al dente.

The sweetness of the peas does a beautiful job of balancing the saltiness of the ham. Then, the rich cream sauce brings it all together.

Adding more cheese will thicken the sauce a bit — you definitely do not want a runny sauce. However, it shouldn’t be too thick, either.

When it comes to the cream, I suggest sticking with dairy. I strongly do not recommend using almond milk or coconut milk, either.

In this Article

Why You’ll Love Pasta With Ham and Peas

Great for leftovers – In addition to using up leftover ham, you can also add other vegetables. 

Simple – This is an easy recipe that you can make quickly. 

Casual yet elegant – While this is an easy-to-make meal, it’s as good for busy weeknights as it is for a special occasion.

farfalle with peas, ham, and cream

Here are a few helpful tips for the ingredients needed

Farfalle pasta: My favorite pasta is De Cecco. I was raised with it and I love the large selection of shapes. My favorites are farfalle, penne, and rigatoni — orecchiette will be good too. You want pasta that can hold the sauce. That is the fun of this recipe.

Peas: If using frozen peas, let them thaw before cooking with them. If using peas in a can, rinse them under cold running water before adding them to the sauce.

Unsalted Butter: You know me by now: I do not like to overall my food; therefore, I always use unsalted butter.

Slices of ham: Cooked ham or any leftover ham you cut into small bite-size pieces.

Heavy cream: make sure it is heavy whipping cream. It will create the perfect creamy farfalle pasta recipe.

Parmesan cheese: Grated fresh is always the best.

Equipment you will need

Large pot to cook the pasta – make sure it is large as your pasta needs room to cook

Skillet – to prepare the sauce

Colander – to drain your pasta

Cooking utensils

Grater – for your cheese

Serving pasta dishes – a beautiful plate is always inviting

Cooking tips and step-by-step to make this fantastic creamy Farfalle with Peas, Ham, and Cream recipe.

Bring the water to a boil. Meanwhile, you can start cooking the peas, ham, and cream sauce. As they say in Italy, pasta does not wait for you. You wait for it.

  • While cooking the pasta, start preparing the peas, ham, and cream sauce. Use a large skillet that you can add to the cooked pasta when they are done.
  • Use a large pot of salted water for cooking your farfalle pasta.
  • Cook the pasta al dente, meaning drain the pasta a few minutes before it is fully cooked. The pasta will continue cooking in the cream. You do not want overcooked pasta — trust me.
  • Before draining the farfalle pasta, save a cup of the pasta water. This will help to thin the sauce if need be. The cooking water contains natural starch.
  • Melt butter in a skillet and add the peas and diced ham. 
  • Saute briefly before adding the cream, salt, and pepper.
  • Continue to cook until the sauce thickens. 
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the drained pasta.
  • Generously sprinkle the cheese over the pasta.
  • Serve immediately.
Farfalle with Peas, Ham and Cream

What to Serve With Farfalle with Peas, Ham, and Cream

With protein, dairy, and peas, this dish is already a fairly complete meal, but I doubt anyone would turn down a piece of warm crusty bread dipped in olive oil or spread with butter to go with it!

You can also serve a simple kale salad or a panzanella caprese salad

If you want a warm, comforting start to the meal, try a bowl of Italian wedding soup or Tuscan bean soup.

Variations  and substitution suggestions

  • Instead of baked ham, you can replace it with prosciutto. Although a great combination, beware of not over-salting your dish, as the prosciutto is cured with salt and thus more salty by nature.
  • You can substitute the heavy cream with whole milk to make this dish lighter.
  • Add some small chopped onion to the cream. Cook them to a translucent point before adding them to the pasta.
  • Peas in a can are the accepted replacement for the frozen.
  • Have leftover chicken? Cut it is small pieces and add it instead of the ham.
  • I used Parmigiano Reggiano. You can replace it with pecorino romano.

You can use any tubular pasta with this dish. You want the sauce to be absorbed by the pasta. The cream balances the peas’ sweetness and the ham’s saltiness.

Great for any night of the week. Remember, the pasta will not wait for you.

You must wait for it. Enjoy it warm soon after coming out of the stove.

Farfalle with Peas, Ham and Cream

More Easy Pasta Dishes

Penne Pasta Peas and Bacon

Zucchini Provolone Pasta

Creamy Lemon Shrimp Scampi Pasta

Ricotta, Arugula, Pine Nuts and Penne Pasta

Frequently Asked Questions

What is farfalle pasta used for? 

Farfalle pasta is used for dishes that have either an oil-based or cream-based sauce. Its bow-tie shape with small crevices is perfect for catching all of the sauce and remaining coated with it. 

Do Italians use cream in pasta? 

While it’s not the most common sauce that Italians use, cream-based sauces do have their place, particularly in dishes like this one with veggies and meat. 

What cream is best for pasta? 

The best cream to use for pasta is a heavy cream so that you can develop a rich sauce that will coat the pasta. 

Storage

Refrigerator: You can store this pasta dish in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. However, when storing pasta with sauce, it’s important to remember that the pasta can become soggy.

Freezer: I do not recommend freezing this pasta — it is unlikely to retain its same texture when thawed.

Products and Equipment used to make Farfalle with Peas, Ham, and Cream.

De Cecco Farfalle Pasta, 16 Oz
$2.99 ($0.19 / Ounce)
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02/18/2024 09:40 am GMT

A Chef Giangi Pick
All-Clad D3 3-Ply Stainless Steel Fry Pan 12 Inch Induction Oven Broiler Safe
$129.95
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02/19/2024 01:10 am GMT

A Chef Giangi Pick
All-Clad Specialty Stainless Steel Stockpot, Multi-Pot with Strainer 3 Piece
$99.95
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02/19/2024 03:30 am GMT
18/8 Stainless Steel Colander, Easy Grip Micro-Perforated 5-Quart Colander, Strainer with Riveted and Heat Resistant Handles, BPA Free. Great for Pasta, Noodles, Vegetables and Fruits
$18.99
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02/18/2024 08:20 am GMT

Farfalle with Peas, Ham, and Cream

5 from 34 votes
farfalle with peas, ham, and cream
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Quick and easy Italian dinner recipes can be made in less than 20 minutes.

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound pasta,
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 4 slices ham
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Cook pasta n an abundant large pot of salted water according to package directions.
  • In a skillet add the peas, butter, ham. Sautee for 5 minutes. Add the cream, salt, pepper, and cook under medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cream is slightly becoming thick. Remove from heat.
  • When the pasta is cooked and drained, return to the pan and add the sauce. Stir well and add the cheese.
  • Serve nice and hot.

Notes

Storage
Refrigerator: You can store this pasta dish in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. However, when keeping pasta with sauce, it’s important to remember that the pasta can become soggy.
Freezer: I do not recommend freezing this pasta — it is unlikely to retain its same texture when thawed.

Nutrition

Calories: 671kcal | Carbohydrates: 91g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 552mg | Potassium: 455mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 810IU | Vitamin C: 14.5mg | Calcium: 200mg | Iron: 2.4mg

Giangi’s Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.

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Originally published on June 9, 2021.