Having an empty nest allows me to cook food that may be too spicy or exotic for kids. But Pete and Andi’s youngest daughter comes for dinner frequently and I sometimes I like to make meals geared specifically to the taste of an 8 year old child when she eats here. Tonight Estrella will be having dinner with us so I’m making Bowtie Pasta & Ham with Cream Sauce.
Bowtie Pasta & Ham with Cream Sauce is a kid-friendly dish that’s quick and easy!
Since there are peas and carrots in the pasta I don’t have to make a separate vegetable. And Estrella will eat the vegetables without a debate when they’re in Bowtie Pasta & Ham with Cream Sauce. Yay! No discussions about how peas aren’t her favorite!
It’s great when kids eat the vegetables willingly!
I have a lot of ham leftover so this is a great dish to use up some of it and it’s one I know Estrella will really enjoy. And I can do almost all the prep work before she even gets out of school so I won’t be stuck in the kitchen.
The first step is dicing up a small onion to get about 1/2 cup and a couple of medium carrots to get a cup, and mincing a large clove of garlic.
I’ll also dice up some ham. Three cups will be enough.
When it’s time to start cooking I’ll put a large pot of well salted water on to boil. Then I’ll add the pasta and let it cook until it’s al dente. It’ll take about 10 minutes.
I’m going to reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta water in case I need to thin the cream sauce. I’ll drain the pasta and set it aside.
The rest of the cooking is just about as easy as making the pasta!
While the pasta is cooking I’ll heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Then I’ll add the diced onions and carrots. I’ll season them with Italian Seasoning and let them cook for 3 – 4 minutes.
When the onions and carrots are very close to tender I’ll add the minced garlic and the ham to the skillet. I’ll cook this all for about 2 minutes. I want the onions and carrots tender, the garlic golden, and the ham hot and a little browned.
Next I’ll stir in the peas and let them cook for a couple of minutes so they get nice and hot.
Then I’m going to slowly pour in heavy cream and simmer it until it’s slightly thickened. If it gets too thick I can add the pasta water, a tablespoon at a time, until I have the consistency I want.
As soon as my sauce is the right consistency I’m going to remove it from the heat and add the pasta to the skillet. I’ll toss everything to coat the pasta in the sauce.
Before serving I’ll season it will salt and pepper to taste.
Finally I sprinkle the Bowtie Pasta & Ham with Cream Sauce with a little Parmesan cheese and dinner is ready!
Kids really love Bowtie Pasta & Ham with Cream Sauce and you’ll feel good about getting vegetables into them without seeing that “vegetable face.”
Estrella announced that she “loves that dinner!” so I’m very happy.
Bowtie Pasta & Ham with Cream Sauce
Bowtie Pasta & Ham with Cream Sauce is a kid-friendly meal that let's you get vegetables into children without seeing that "vegetable face" they make!
- 12 ounces (uncooked) bowtie pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 medium carrots, diced small (about 1 cup)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 3 cups ham, diced
- 1 cup peas
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Boil a large pot of well salted water.
- Add bowtie pasta and cook until al dente (about 10 – 11 minutes).
- Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water, drain pasta, and set aside.
- While pasta is cooking heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Add onions and carrots, season with Italian seasoning, and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 – 4 minutes (until onions and carrots are nearly tender.
- Stir in garlic and ham and cook for an additional 2 minutes (until onions & carrots are tender, garlic is golden and fragrant and ham is hot).
- To the same skillet add peas and cook for 1 – 2 minutes (until peas are heated through).
- Add cream to skillet and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes).
- Remove from heat and toss pasta gently into sauce, taste, add salt and pepper to taste.
- If sauce is thicker than you desire add reserved pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time and stir until the desired consistency is reached.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired and serve hot.