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Creamy lemon pasta with ham and peas in a white bowl sitting on a black and white countertop.

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Ham and Peas

If you’ve got leftover ham, this pasta is for you. The creamy sauce and richness of the ham are balanced by peas and lemon zest. It makes a great early spring dinner. And the best part? It only takes about 30 minutes to make. Hello, easy weeknight meal.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 pound campanelle or other short pasta
  • salt, for the pasta water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, mined
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 4 ounces (about 1 cup) ham, cubed
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Zest of one lemon, about one tablespoon
  • ½ cup grated parmesan (about 2 ounces)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously. Cook one pound of pasta, stirring occasionally, until tender (al dente).
  2. While pasta cooks, make the sauce. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high. Add onions, cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and black pepper. Cook an additional minute. Reduce heat to low. Add half and half, ham, and peas. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

  3. Reserve about a half cup of pasta cooking liquid. Drain pasta and return it to the pot. Add the parmesan cheese and lemon zest. Stir to cook. Toss with the sauce. Cover the pot and let pasta sit for 5 minutes. Remove lid. Stir. If sauce is thick, add a splash of pasta cooking liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste.