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Pappardelle with Ham and Peas

If you prefer, substitute 1 cup chopped cooked pancetta or thick-cut bacon for the ham. Both will add a pleasant, smoky note to the creamy sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup diced baked ham (see related recipe at left)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • Salt, to taste, plus 2 Tbs.
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. pappardelle or wide egg noodles
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:

Make the sauce
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.

In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the ham and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and bring to a gentle boil. Stir in the peas and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat.

Cook the pasta
Meanwhile, add the 2 Tbs. salt and the pasta to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the pasta is al dente (tender but firm to the bite), according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Add the pasta to the sauce along with 1/2 cup of the cheese and toss to combine. Warm briefly over low heat to blend the flavors. Add as much of the cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce. Serve immediately, passing the remaining cheese at the table. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Make Ahead, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2008).