Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pasta with Ham, Peas, and Cream

Brad and I love the TV show Top Chef. On one of the recent episodes the contestants had to re-create some famous Chef's choices for their last meals. So I asked Brad what his last meal that I cook would be. I thought that I knew the answer, chicken casserole, but I was completely surprised when he chose this recipe. I really do like this recipe. It is so quick and easy that I usually just throw it together whenever I have nothing else to make, not realizing it is one of Brad's favorite.

1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen (If frozen I put in the microwave for about 1 minute)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter (I use salted butter and leave out the 1/4 tsp salt)
1 cup sliced mushrooms (I leave these out)
1 cup ham, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 lb linguine, fettucine or other long pasta (I actually use the bow tie pasta)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese or more to taste (I always add more)

Bring large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. While that cooks melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat; add mushrooms and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly browned. Add ham and cook 1 minute. Stir in peas, cream, salt, and pepper. Turn heat to low; keep warm, stirring occasionally, while pasta is cooking. Drain pasta, reserving about 1 cup of cooking water.
Toss pasta with butter mixture (if it seems too dry, add a little of the reserved cooking water - I have never had to do this). Add Parmesan and toss. Serve immediately.

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