This is the time of year where we’re all busy preparing for the holidays, but it doesn’t mean we can’t have a great meal. Creamy Fettuccine with Peas and Ham is perfect for both its taste and ease in preparation and all in under 30 minutes.
This meal is hearty and fast. Fettuccine pasta is coated with a cream sauce, flavored with garlic and a splash of Vermouth, mixed with peas and ham, then tossed with Parmesan. Simple, easy, and delicious.
Does it have to be fettuccine? No. Choose your favorite pasta. Fettuccine is a good fit since this dish resembles a creamy Alfredo sauce, but with so much more flavor. Pasta water is added to the cream sauce serving as a thickener because of the starch released from the pasta. At the same time, the water lightens the cream without diluting its richness.
You don’t need a lot of ham to make this dish. A quarter pound of diced ham goes a long way, but add more if you wish. Prosciutto can also be substituted to make this dish extra special. The ham and peas are co-stars to the creamy pasta, and a splash of dry vermouth is used as an acid to bring out flavor.
You can substitute white wine if you don’t have vermouth. As you can see, this dish is versatile in that you can use what you have on hand. The fettuccine, ham, and vermouth, can be substituted with your choice of pasta, prosciutto, and wine.
Be careful with the salt. I use Diamond Crystal kosher salt which is less salty than Morton’s. Because this dish has Parmesan cheese added, salt to taste. I start with ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, but you may want to season after adding the cheese or just try with a pinch of salt and go from there. Just remember, the ham is salty, the cheese is salty, and the pasta water will have salt. Speaking of pasta water, check out this post for How to Cook Pasta to learn the importance of salt, as well as timing for cooking.
This holiday season, or any season, don’t fret about dinner. Make this easy and delicious creamy fettuccine with peas and ham in less than 30 minutes!
- 1 pound fettuccine pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- ¼ pound ham cut into thin strips
- ¼ cup vermouth or white wine
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup frozen sweet peas
- Kosher salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup reserved pasta water
Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. I cook about a 1 - 2 minutes less what it states then test.
While pasta is cooking, set a large skillet or saute pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the ham and cook until heated, about 2 minutes.
Stir in Vermouth and cook until almost evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Stir in the cream and peas and bring just to a low simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened and peas are heated through. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Drain pasta and reserve ¼ cup of pasta water. I add the water to the measuring cup I used for cream to “wash” it out.
Transfer pasta to bowl and toss with cream sauce, Parmesan cheese, and reserved pasta water. Serve hot.
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