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Pasta Shells with Peas and Ham

Country ham—rubbed with salt and sugar, smoked for weeks, then hung to cure for at least six months—is quintessentially Southern. Because it's so salty, it's ideal as an accent in dishes like this homey pasta.


slideshow  More Fast Pasta Recipes


  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1 pound small pasta shells or elbow macaroni

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • One 10-ounce package frozen peas

  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced country ham or prosciutto, coarsely chopped

  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream

  • 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth

  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1/3 cup chopped dill

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta shells until al dente. Drain the shells, return them to the pot and toss with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil to prevent sticking.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until golden, about 4 minutes. Add the peas and ham and cook until the peas are hot and the ham is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and stock and simmer over moderate heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir the cream sauce into the shells. Add the Parmesan and dill and season with salt and pepper. Serve in bowls.

Suggested Pairing

Juicy, jammy red.

Contributed By Photo © Ngoc Minh Ngo Published March 2006

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