If you have teenagers who eat a lot, keep this one in heavy rotation and add a soft, squishy loaf of Italian bread to round it out. At our house, this recipe serves 4 (along with bread) with enough left over for someone’s lunch the next day. In about 20 minutes, you will have the meal ready. Enlist some help from the surly teenagers and have them set the table while you pour yourself a glass of wine.
Creamy Pasta with Ham and Peas (serves 6) 1(16 oz.)box pasta such as penne or rotini 3 oz. (half a package) Canadian Bacon, diced 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 1/2 tablespoons AP flour 1 cup milk 2 oz. cream cheese 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 1/8 teaspoon dried mustard 1 cup frozen peas (still frozen or thawed) 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for the table Heat water to boil box of pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions (al dente, about 9 minutes.) While the pasta is boiling, add Canadian Bacon and butter to a large pot. Heat over medium until edges of bacon begin to crisp and butter is melted. Add flour and stir to incorporate. Cook mixture for 5 minutes. Slowly add milk, a little at a time and incorporate with a whisk. Add more milk as mixture begins to thicken. Add cream cheese and stir to combine until it is melted into the sauce. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and mustard. Stir. Add peas and heat through. If mixture gets too thick, add pasta water from pasta pot a few tablespoons at a time. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water and drain pasta once it is finished cooking. Add drained pasta to sauce. Mix to combine. Add Parmesan, a little at a time and mix gently to distribute evenly. Add more pasta water if needed. Serve immediately with more Parmesan on the side.