National Cookbook Month – Cheesy Ham and Pasta

The weather here has turned cold and wet, and that means it’s comfort food time! Since comfort food and cookbooks go together, the other night I made this family favorite, Cheesy Ham and Pasta and served it with the last of the summer tomatoes.

Meatless Cheesy Ham and Pasta with heirloom tomatoes

Meatless Cheesy Ham and Pasta with heirloom tomatoes

This is another simple recipe for all you “efficient” cooks out there, and prepared using only one pot! To make 4 servings cook 3/4 lb. of pasta according to package directions.  A medium shaped pasta like bow-ties, wagon wheels, shells, etc. all work well here. Add 3/4 cup of frozen peas to the pot during the last 4-5 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, dice 3/4 cup ham (I used a meatless ham substitute) and slice 3 Tbsp of roasted red pepper (found in the pickle aisle at the grocery store).

Drain the pasta/peas and return to the pot. Add the diced ham and sliced red pepper along with 3/4 cup half and half, 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese,  1 Tbsp butter (optional), and hot sauce to taste. Toss gently, over low heat,  until the cheese is melted and the pasta is coated with sauce (3-5 minutes).

Tips: There are plenty of ways to make this lower in fat; use evaporated milk instead of half and half, use low-fat ricotta cheese instead of Parmesan and then top with a sprinkle of Parmesan, omit the butter (the sauce won’t hold together as well), use a drizzle of olive oil instead of butter,  and/or use lean ham. You could also add even more vegetables to the mix, like chopped carrots, broccoli, or sun-dried tomatoes for increased vegetable servings. Experiment – remember a good cookbook serves as a jumping off point for creativity!

This recipe came from our budget-friendly cookbook, I Want My Dinner Now! – Simple Meals for Busy Cooks. To celebrate National Cookbook Month we are having a 50% off sale on all orders – visit our web site today!

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About the Author

Renee Pottle, an author and heart-healthy educator, loves to explore and write about the Mediterranean Diet. She blogs at and

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