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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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