Penne with Asparagus & Ham

by Elizabeth Skipper | May 13th, 2015 | Chef Recipe, Recipes

fresh asparagus (400x400)Asparagus and ham complement each other nicely, with the sweetness of the asparagus balancing the saltiness of the ham. Against a background of pasta, with the added richness of cream, this is a perfect spring dish which makes the most of an often costly vegetable. If you’re a fan of pasta Alfredo, you will love this.




Penne with Asparagus & Ham


  1. 1 lb. asparagus
  2. ½ lb. ham in ¼” slices
  3. ¾ lb. penne or rigatoni
  4. 1 cup heavy cream
  5. ¾ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  6. Salt & pepper
  7. Nutmeg, optional
  1. Put a large pot of water on to a boil over high heat.
  2. Peel and trim the asparagus; cut it into 1” lengths, keeping the tips separate.
  3. Cut the ham into large julienne strips 1” long.
  4. When the water has boiled, salt it generously and boil the pasta according to the directions on the box.
  5. When it has reached the al dente stage, scoop it out of the water into a colander.
  6. Add the asparagus pieces (not the tips) and boil 2-3 minutes, or until barely tender.
  7. Drain into the colander over the pasta.
  8. Return the empty pot to the burner. Add the heavy cream, ham, and asparagus tips, and bring to a boil; turn the heat down to medium-low.
  9. Turn the pasta and asparagus into the cream/ham mixture, and heat through.
  10. The cream will thicken a little.
  11. Add ½ cup of the cheese (which will thicken the sauce further), leaving aside about ¼ cup.
  12. Taste for saltiness; and season with salt and pepper.
  13. If you like nutmeg, a little of that is a nice touch; but it’s not necessary.
  14. Serve in heated bowls.
Think Tasty

  1. TT says:

    I made sauce for pasta last night using this technique of reducing heavy cream and adding parmesan cheese. I was impressed with the flavorful sauce that it made. Typically I make a roux and then create a cheese sauce. This was simpler and pleased my teenage daughter. A double win! Thanks for the inspiration.

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