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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pasta Shells with Peas and Ham

I found this recipe paging through a Food and Wine cookbook at Michael's grandparents' home.  It's simple, tasty, and can feed a crowd. The last time I made it my two-year-old repeatedly asked for more--he probably ate 5 servings.



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Pasta Shells with Peas and Ham


Source: Food and Wine

1 lb small pasta shells or elbow macaroni
2 T plus 1 teas olive oil
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
10 oz package frozen peas
¼ lb thinly sliced country ham or prosciutto, coarsely chopped (I often use John Morrell diced ham)
1 ¼ c heavy cream
1 c low-sodium chicken broth
¼ c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
⅓ c chopped fresh dill (optional)

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta shells until al dente. Drain the shells, return them to the pot and toss with 1 t olive oil to prevent shells from sticking together.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 T olive oil. Add the sliced garlic cloves and cook over moderate heat until the garlic is golden, about 4 minutes. Add the frozen peas and the country ham and cook until the peas are hot and the ham is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the heavy cream and the broth and simmer over moderate heat until the cream has slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Stir the cream sauce into the cooked shells. Add the Parmesan cheese and the chopped dill (if using) to the pasta and season with salt and pepper.

Note from Betsy: Most often, instead of the fresh dill, I will sprinkle the finished product with dried dill weed, until I can see a pleasing amount of herb throughout the pasta. 

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