Creamy Fettuccine with Peas and Ham is made with a simple sauce of cream, wine, and garlic which coats each strand of the fettuccine. Add diced ham and peas and you have a perfect meal done in under 30 minutes.
This dish comes together very quickly. As soon as the pasta water comes to a boil, start making the sauce. While the pasta is cooking, it’s enough time to saute the garlic, add the ham, wine or Vermouth, cream, and peas. Let that simmer and reduce which should time perfectly with the fettuccine being cooked to al dente – about 10 – 13 minutes depending on which brand you buy.
You don’t need a lot of ham to make this dish. A quarter pound of diced ham goes a long way. You could certainly add more if you wish. Same goes for the peas.
Substitute white wine if you don’t have vermouth. It only takes a little acid to bring this dish to the next level. Just to clarify, I use white vermouth and not red. It’s added to the garlic and ham and most of it evaporates yet it still does its job.
Salt to taste. Remember the ham and the Parmesan are salty, along with some pasta water which also has salt. Start with a little and adjust later. As for the pepper, add as much as you wish. Freshly cracked pepper works best here.
Before draining the pasta, remove about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. I use the same measuring cup I used to measure the cream which helps get every bit of cream into your dish. Just be careful and don’t dip too low and burn yourself.
Once you mix the sauce with the fettuccine, you may find it’s soupy and you may feel it does not need the pasta water. Don’t be fooled. Once the Parmesan is tossed in and the pasta and cream are combined, it will thicken. It also thickens as it sits so having that pasta water keeps it creamy. Since we used heavy cream, that little bit of starchy pasta water keeps the creamy consistency of the sauce. Start with 1/4 cup and go from there.
Now taste and adjust for salt. Just remember, the ham is salty, the cheese is salty, and the pasta water is salty. 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.
There is one caveat to this dish, it doesn’t reheat well. When you reheat it, the cream separates and it loses its creamy smooth texture. It’s still good, it’s just not the same. If a full recipe is too much, halve it.
Tools you’ll need to make Creamy Fettuccine with Peas and Ham:
Love pasta? Try some of these:
- Angel hair with sautéed tomatoes
- Sausage pasta bake with mozzarella
- Simply delicious spinach and cheese pasta salad
- Spaghetti with garlic butter and cheese
- Baked rigatoni with three cheeses
- American chop suey
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Creamy Fettuccine with Peas and HamPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- Cook pasta al dente according to package directions.
- While pasta is cooking, set a large skillet or sauté 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, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. I use the same measuring cup I used for the cream to “wash” it out.
- Transfer pasta to a large bowl and toss with the cream sauce and Parmesan cheese. It will seem soupy at first but it will thicken as it sits. You can add 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water. If you need more to make it creamy, add the rest. Serve hot.