15-Minute Bowties with Ham, Peas and Ricotta
This has forever been one of my favorite weeknight meals… but one that I honestly forget about until someone reminds me of it. It’s an old family recipe that my Mom always calls ‘Hay and Straw’, but for some reason I could never get behind that name. So today we’re calling it what it is: 15-Minute Bowties with Ham, Peas and Ricotta.
I was recently chatting with my girlfriends from college talking about foods I used to cook in our little college apartment kitchen and my girl Katie always brings up these bowties with ham. They’re wildly easy to make, super cheap (hello, college budget) and a little goes a loooooong way (also, hello college). I used to make a batch one night and we’d eat off of it for a few days (and nights) after.
All you need is pasta—I’ve always used bowties, but any pasta will do!—ricotta, a ham steak and frozen veggie. I’ve always used peas, but my cousin always makes her with corn. So really, whatever you have around! The key is to save some of the pasta cooking water to use to make the sauce nice and creamy.
And here’s the thing: the better the ham and ricotta, the better the whole thing is! In college, we would buy whatever was cheapest… but now, my favorite way to make this is with a leftover ham roast. While we don’t make them often, hams are fairly cheap and super easy to make… so we always say we shouldn’t save them just for the holidays! It makes a ton and leftover ham is so versatile. Just dice it up and you’re good to go!
- 1 lb bowtie pasta
- 2 small ham steaks
- 1/2 lb frozen peas
- 1/4 cup parmesan
- 1/2 pint ricotta
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water
In a large pot, boil water and cook pasta according to directions on the package. Note: I always undercook pasta by 1-2 minutes per the package... they always over cook it. About 3 minutes before the cooking time is up, add the frozen peas. Test the pasta and if al dente, turn off the heat. Use a glass measuring cup to remove a little more than a 1/2 cup of cooking water and set aside.
Drain the pasta and peas in a colander. Dice the ham steak into 1-inch pieces and grate the parmesan.
Add the pasta and peas back into the cooking pot with the diced ham, ricotta , parmesan, minced garlic, black pepper, Italian seasoning, salt and red pepper flakes. Pour in 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water and stir together. Add more pasta water as needed to create a saucy pasta.
Serve warm or room temperature with an extra sprinkle of parmesan.