This creamy Ham and Parmesan pasta, aka ham and cheese pasta, is a delicious and creamy ham pasta that is a great way to use up ham leftovers. This creamy pasta with ham is so full of flavor from the ham, Parmesan, cream, and garlic and it is so easy to make. If you love creamy cheesy pasta then you will love this recipe. It really is so delicious.
Creamy pasta with ham and Parmesan cheese
This creamy ham and cheese pasta was actually one of the first dishes I learned to cook many years ago. My husband and I called it fake carbonara because it has all the same flavors of carbonara but it is made with ham and cream.
Over the years, this creamy ham pasta has been what I use when I have leftover holiday baked ham or deli ham. We quite often will add this cheesy ham pasta to our meal rotation and I will order a ham steak to make it.
It is so full of flavor and so ridiculously easy to make. I love really quick and simple dinners like this one. I love adding this ham pasta and my easy cheese tortellini recipe to my monthly meal rotation for those busy nights.
This ham pasta uses leftover ham and some basic pantry staples that most of you probably already have on hand.
- Ham. Any leftover ham will do. You can use leftover holiday ham, deli ham or even ham steaks.
- Heavy Cream. This is part of the creamy part of this ham and cheese pasta.
- Parmesan Cheese.
- Fresh sage. This is optional but if you have it, use it! I tend to have sage leftover after the holidays so I add it in then and it is delicious.
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Olive oil. For cooking onions and garlic.
The best ham for this ham and cheese pasta
As I talked about earlier, any ham will work great with this recipe. I know because I have used all varieties over the years.
If I have leftover holiday ham, you can guarantee I am making this ham and cheese pasta or my ham and puff pastry calzone. When working with leftover holiday ham, I like to cut the ham into thin pieces that fit on a fork.
Sometimes you may be wondering how to use up the leftover deli ham you have in the fridge and this ham and cheese pasta is perfect for that too. I just stack and then cut the deli ham into thin strips and carefully loosen the pieces so they are not stuck together.
You can also buy a stand-alone ham steak from the grocery store. I prefer buying the boneless ham steaks and cutting them thinly for this recipe.
I use these ham steaks for my Italian macaroni and cheese as well. They are very affordable and a great alternative to deli ham.
How to make Creamy Ham Pasta
The first thing you want to do is get that pasta water boiling. Once you do that, you can begin to saute the onions and garlic until they are translucent.
Once the onions are cooked, you will add the ham and all you want to do is warm it through. You are not cooking it, just warming it up.
Once you have heated up the ham in the saute pan, add the cream, Parmesan, and sage if you are using that. You allow it to cook gently for a couple of minutes and the sauce is ready.
This is why you start the pasta before you do anything else in this recipe. This ham and cheese pasta is so quick to make that cooking the pasta is the part that takes the longest.
Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, you add that into the creamy ham and Parmesan sauce and mix it well.
What to Serve With Ham and Cheese Pasta
We will often just add frozen peas to this ham and cheese pasta for a complete meal with veggies in it. If you want side dish ideas to serve alongside this ham pasta, here are our suggestions:
- Spinach and Mushroom Salad
- Oregano and Garlic Crostini
- Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Parmesan Asparagus
- Garlic Roasted Green Beans
- Charred Broccoli
There are so many great sides to this easy pasta recipe.
How to Store and Re-Heat Leftovers
If you are lucky enough to have leftovers (this never happens in our house), you can store the pasta in a container with a lid in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
To reheat the ham and cheese pasta, the microwave is the best option. To do this, place a moistened paper towel over the top of the pasta and microwave for 1-2 minutes (depending on your microwave.)
More Like This
If you love this easy pasta, you may also love these:
Creamy Ham and Parmesan Pasta
- 1 lb rigatoni pasta or any large pasta shape you have on hand
- 2 cups leftover ham sliced into thin strips
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup Freshly grated Parmesan
- ½ Spanish onion sliced thin
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon Freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 fresh sage leaves optional
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste. This will depend on the saltiness of the ham that you are using.
- reserved pasta water
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente.1 lb rigatoni pasta
- Heat a large saute pan over medium heat.
- Add olive oil.2 tablespoon olive oil
- Add onions and cook for 1 minute.½ Spanish onion
- Now add garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute.2 cloves of garlic
- Add the leftover ham and warm through, about one minute tossing the ham around in the pan.2 cups leftover ham
- Add heavy cream, parmesan, salt and pepper. (and sage if using it).1 cup heavy cream, ½ cup Freshly grated Parmesan, ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon Freshly cracked black pepper, 2 fresh sage leaves
- Mix well and reduce heat to low.
- Drain the pasta and make sure to reserve about 1 cup of pasta water.reserved pasta water
- Add pasta to the pan with the ham and cream and mix well.
- Add about ¼ cup of pasta water to the pan and mix well.
- If the sauce looks creamy and not too thick, no more pasta water is needed. If the sauce is too thin, cook for an additional minute until it thickens.
- Serve immediately.
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here
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