This creamy ham and cheese pasta is simple, easy, and delicious. You can make this in 30 minutes or less. Perfect for hectic dinner nights when there's no time to cook an elaborate meal.
Creamy and Cheesy Ham Pasta
I'm actually calling this pasta for the picky eaters. Pasta, ham, cream, and cheese–I mean what's not to like? It's simple yet indulging.
And the best part? You don't need a lot of effort to make it.
What you need
This recipe calls for simple ingredients that can easily be substituted if needed. But there are 3 things that give the sauce an extra depth of flavor. So don't skip it 🙂
- Pasta - you can use any pasta from spaghetti, fettuccine to linguine. It will also work wonderfully on most short pasta such as fusilli, bow tie, penne, and ziti.
- Garlic - makes the sauce extra fragrant. I just love the flavor it gives to white pasta sauces.
- Ham - use leftover ham or even deli ham.
- Butter - adds flavor to the sauce but can also be substituted with olive oil
- Heavy cream - best to use when making creamy sauce due to its rich consistency. See below for substitutes.
- Chicken bouillon - to make the sauce flavorful i.e. not bland.
- Italian seasoning - It is optional but highly recommended for added flavor.
- Cheese - use parmesan or mild cheddar.
That is it!
Tips, substitutes, and add-ons
- Heavy cream can be substituted with milk or half and half. To give the sauce a creamy texture, you can add flour or cornstarch.
- Use low-sodium or organic chicken bouillon. I find that they give the best flavor for pasta sauces compared to regular chicken bouillon.
- Use the pasta cooking water instead of regular water. The extra starch helps thicken the sauce.
- Other dried herbs you can use are tarragon, parsley, and basil. Of course if fresh is available, use it with gusto.
- Make it "healthy-ish" by adding vegetables: broccoli, green peas, white and brown button mushrooms, portobello mushroom.
Need more easy dinner recipes? Try these...
- Salmon in Honey Garlic Sauce
- Quick and Easy Dinner Rolls
- Mushroom Pasta (made with canned soup)
- Cream Cheese Pasta Sauce
- Chunky Mushroom and Celery Soup
- Sardines Pasta with Tomatoes and Olives
- Creamy Garlic Pasta with Bacon and Mushroom
Creamy Ham and Cheese Pasta
- 10 oz linguine (or other pasta)
- 1 ½ cup ham (chopped)
- 3 tablespoon butter
- 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 ½ cup heavy cream (see note 1)
- 1 cup pasta cooking water (add more as needed.)
- 1 pc low sodium chicken bouillon
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (optional)
- ½ cup fresh parmesan cheese or mild cheddar (grated)
- parsley (for garnish)
- Cook pasta in a pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and reserve about 2 cups pasta water.
- Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until soft and fragrant. Stir in ham and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Pour cream, pasta water, and chicken bouillon. Simmer until the bouillon is completely dissolved. Add cheese and simmer until melted. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Add pasta and toss gently in the sauce until coated. If the sauce gets too thick, add a splash of pasta water.
- Garnish with parsley and more parmesan cheese. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Recipe Notes and Tips:
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