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Creamy Ham and Red Bell Pepper Pasta

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This creamy ham and red pepper pasta recipe combines cooked ham with cream, cream cheese, Parmesan, and basil to create a delicious sauce to top lovely al dente spaghetti.
4.7 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Creamy Ham and Red Bell Pepper Pasta - A recipe for a rich, creamy ham and red bell pepper pasta sauce using cream, cream cheese, Parmesan, and basil. https://www.lanascooking.com/creamy-ham-and-red-bell-pepper-pasta/

Creamy Ham and Red Bell Pepper Pasta – A recipe for a rich, creamy ham and red bell pepper pasta sauce using cream, cream cheese, Parmesan, and basil.

This is another one of those recipes that just happened while I was cleaning out the fridge. Really. I had a tiny little bit of cream cheese left over from another recipe, a bit of whipping cream, half a red bell pepper, and a package of ham cubes that were all going to need to be used within a few days. So, I grabbed an onion, some garlic, and a few other things and this is what I ended up with!

Creamy Ham and Red Bell Pepper Pasta - A recipe for a rich, creamy ham and red bell pepper pasta sauce using cream, cream cheese, Parmesan, and basil. https://www.lanascooking.com/creamy-ham-and-red-bell-pepper-pasta/

I’ve already made this “clean out the fridge” recipe twice. For me to make a recipe twice in the space of a week means that it’s most definitely a keeper. We’ll enjoy this over and over and I hope your family loves it as much as we do.

How to Make Creamy Ham and Red Bell Pepper Pasta

Let’s Go Step-by-Step

I always like to show you the photos and step-by-step instructions for my recipes to help you picture how to make them in your own kitchen. If you just want to print out a copy, you can skip to the bottom of the post where you’ll find the recipe card.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add the spaghetti and a tablespoon of salt. Cook the pasta for the length of time indicated on the package.

Make the Sauce

Onion, red bell pepper, and garlic cooking in a skillet.

While the pasta cooks, go ahead with making the creamy ham and red bell pepper sauce. In a large, deep sided skillet melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the onion, red bell pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened and is translucent – about 6 to 7 minutes.

Cubed ham added to skillet with vegetables.

Add the cubed ham to the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the ham is warmed through.

Packaged cubed ham.

Just a note about the ham – I really love this cubed ham that I get at my local grocery store. It comes in 8 ounce packs, is already diced and ready for a recipe, and the taste is great! I keep a pack or two of this on hand all the time and use it for things like omelets, casseroles, and pasta salads. Anything that you’d need some leftover ham for this is great in it.

Adding milk and cream to the skillet.

Once the ham has had a few minutes to warm up, add the milk, cream, and cream cheese. Cook, stirring, until the cream cheese has melted.

Now, you don’t have to use cream here. You can use all milk, or half and half – whatever you have on hand to equal a total 1/2 cup of milk/cream/half and half.

And you don’t really have to add that little bit of cream cheese. But it sure does make a nice, rich sauce. I’m thinking even some goat cheese would be good in this. Hmmm.

Adding parm, basil and parsley to the skillet.

Add the Parmesan cheese, salt, black pepper, basil, and parsley. Stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium low. Cover the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes more.

Demonstration of how to roll and cut basil into chiffonade.

If you’re not quite sure how to make a chiffonade of basil, it’s easy. Simply stack up the basil leaves, roll them up like a little cigar, and cut crosswise. That’s chiffonade!

Add the Cooked Pasta

Cooked spaghetti added to skillet.

Now that your sauce is all ready to go, add the drained pasta to the pan with the sauce. I don’t drain my pasta in a colander, I just lift it from its cooking water with a pasta fork and drop it into the sauce. That way I still have the pasta water for thinning the sauce if I want it.

Toss to combine the pasta with the sauce. If the sauce seems too thick, add some of the pasta cooking water one ladle full at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

Top individual servings with additional Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley.

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A serving of creamy ham and red bell pepper pasta in a bowl with a fork alongside.

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Creamy Ham and Red Bell Pepper Pasta - A recipe for a rich, creamy ham and red bell pepper pasta sauce using cream, cream cheese, Parmesan, and basil. https://www.lanascooking.com/creamy-ham-and-red-bell-pepper-pasta/

Creamy Ham and Red Bell Pepper Pasta

This creamy ham and red pepper pasta recipe combines cooked ham with cream, cream cheese, Parmesan, and basil to create a delicious sauce to top lovely al dente spaghetti.
4.67 from 3 votes
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Pasta
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 635kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • ½ large red bell pepper diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 8 ounces ham cut in 1/2” cubes
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 large fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add the spaghetti and a tablespoon of salt. Cook the pasta for the length of time indicated on the package.
  • While the pasta cooks proceed with the creamy ham and red pepper sauce. In a large, deep sided skillet melt the butter over medium high heat.
  • Add the onion, red bell pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened and is translucent – about 6 to 7 minutes.
  • Add the diced ham to the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the ham is warmed through.
  • Add the milk, cream, and cream cheese. Cook, stirring, until the cream cheese has melted.
  • Add the Parmesan cheese, salt, black pepper, basil, and parsley. Stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium low. Cover the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes more.
  • Add the drained pasta to the pan with the sauce. Toss to combine the pasta with the sauce. If the sauce seems too thick, add some of the pasta cooking water one ladle full at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Top individual servings with additional Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley.

Notes

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 635kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 3205mg | Potassium: 474mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1634IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 354mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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9 Comments

  1. Well I stumbled across this by accident and I’m soooo glad!! This was fantastic, I did have to make changes. I had no heavy cream so I used sour cream and I had 4 stalks of asparagus left so I cut those up and boiled with pasta at the end. My whole family loved this and all went back for seconds!!! Thank you!

  2. We just had this for dinner and it is DELICIOUS!! Thanks for such a great recipe (and idea to use what I have in my fridge!)

  3. Oh, love your site design! Did you do it yourself? Red and white plaid: can’t get any better than that!
    Brenda

  4. You can’t go wrong with cream cheese,heavy cream and basil.
    Sounds fantastic Lana! This seems like a special occasion meal to me, unless you live in the gym, of course!

    1. You know, Renee, I never thought of this as special occasion. Probably because it was leftover bits of stuff I pulled out of the fridge. But it would totally work for that.

  5. you are just so creative….wish I could throw things together like you…and make a great meal..
    Love, Mona