Creamy Ham Pasta with Asparagus (30 Minute Dinner)

Creamy Ham Pasta with Asparagus is an easy 30 minute recipe that takes cooked ham to a new level. the homemade pasta sauce is prepared from garlic, smoked paprika, paprika flakes, cream and grated parmesan. This recipe is perfect for leftover cooked ham and makes a great easy dinner or weekday lunch.

Creamy ham pasta with asparagus in a cast iron skillet.

30 Minute Ham Noodles

This 30-minute meal combines creamy garlic and parmesan sauce with cooked ham, fly pasta, garlic, asparagus, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes and fresh herbs. This dish is so comforting, creamy and flavorful – it’s going to be your new favorite meal! It is a easy and quick dinner (only 30 minutes of your time!) making it a perfect choice for a busy weeknight. You don’t even have to cook the ham. Buy it already cooked or use leftover cooked ham. For more recipe inspiration with ham as the main ingredient, be sure to check out the delicious Italian-Style Ham Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Olives and Mozzarella and this easy side dish: Asparagus with Ham and Cheese.

Creamy ham pasta with asparagus on a white plate.

Why you will love it

  • Balanced Meal. This meal combines protein (ham), veggies (asparagus), and carbs (pasta) in a delicious way that a whole family can enjoy. I recommend eating lots of veggies and doubling the amount of asparagus (or adding extra veggies like spinach) in this recipe!
  • Great for leftover ham. Make creamy ham noodles from leftover boiled ham that you may still have in the fridge after the holidays (Christmas, Easter, etc.). Or, if you just bought too much ham – use it up in this recipe!
  • 30 minute easily customizable recipe. Ham noodles are easy to throw together. You can also quickly swap out ingredients based on what you have available. It’s also a great recipe for using up leftovers and clearing out the fridge. Toss any veggies you like into this dish: asparagus, peppers, spinach, green beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.

main ingredients

  • Ham. This is a great recipe to use up leftover ham or store-bought cooked ham. This makes this recipe super easy! I used diced ham, but you can use thinly sliced ​​ham or even sandwich-style ham.
  • Pasta. I like to use small noodles as they are perfect for topping with creamy sauce and pair well with ham and asparagus. Use fly pasta, fusilli, rotini, penne, or clam pasta.
  • asparagus is cut into 1-inch or 2-inch pieces and quickly blanched in the same boiling water as pasta.
  • heavy cream can be replaced by half and half.
  • parmesan cheese is freshly chopped up and melted into the cream.
  • Spices These include freshly chopped garlic, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, and fresh herbs like thyme or oregano.

How to Make Ham Pasta – Recipe Overview

Here is the recipe in a nutshell to give you an idea how simple and easy it is:

  • cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water.
  • Add asparagus (diced into 1-inch or 2-inch pieces) during the last 3 minutes of cooking pasta in the same pot of boiling water and blanch for 3 minutes.
  • Rinse cooked pasta and asparagus under cold running water to prevent both ingredients from becoming soft, mushy and sticking together.
  • Make the creamy sauce while the pasta is cooking by cooking chopped garlic with olive oil in a large skillet, then adding heavy cream, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes and salt. Bring to a boil and sprinkle room temperature grated parmesan cheese on top. Stir over low-medium heat until cheese melts.
  • Combine all the ingredients together in the pan with the creamy sauce: add the cooked and drained pasta and asparagus and add the cooked ham (diced into ½ inch pieces). Stir well and season with more salt and red pepper flakes, if desired. Garnish with fresh thyme and grated Parmesan, if you like. That’s it! Super easy and so delicious.

Creamy ham pasta with asparagus in a cast iron skillet.

What is a good substitute for ham?

  • prosciutto – Crisp in the preheated oven at 350 F for about 10 minutes before adding to the pasta.
  • bacon – You can use chopped cooked bacon or chunks of bacon.
  • Turkey Bacon would work great too.

What can you use instead of whipped cream?

  • Half and half should work just as well. If using half and half, add a little more grated cheese to thicken the sauce.
  • Milk. Make a roux with a small amount of olive oil and flour, then gradually stir in milk over low-medium heat until sauce is creamy and has a sauce-like consistency. At this point, you can carefully begin adding grated cheese.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Vegetables. Ham noodles are a great recipe to clean out the fridge with all sorts of veggies! I recommend asparagus, peppers, green beans, spinach, or arugula.
  • Ham. Any ham will work! My favorite way to use cooked ham is because it makes this recipe a breeze! You can even use thinly sliced ​​ham (sandwich style) in this pasta if you have them in your fridge.
  • Cheese. Parmesan cheese harmonises perfectly with the ham and asparagus flavors. Other cheeses I recommend are Asiago, Parmesan or Pecorino Romano.
  • Pasta. I prefer short shaped noodles in this recipe. Good choices are farfalle (fly pasta), penne, rigatoni, fusilli, or orecchiette.

Storage and reheating tips

  • Refrigerator. Store bacon noodles in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Freezer. I do not recommend freezing this dish as the creamy sauce tends to separate when frozen, thawed and reheated.
  • things to consider. Keep in mind that if the cream sauce is refrigerated, it will lose its texture and become thick. To reheat it the next day, reheat on the stovetop over low-medium heat, adding additional milk, half and half, or heavy cream as you reheat to thin the sauce. Or heat in the microwave at short intervals (30-second increments), being careful not to overheat the pasta or the sauce will separate.

What to serve with ham noodles

Since this recipe features a rich and creamy sauce, I recommend serving it with a slice of crusty Italian bread or olive bread or garlic bread to dip in the delicious creamy sauce. Serve with a fresh salad – it always goes well with creamy pasta dishes. Here are my favourites:

  • Arugula salad with apples, cranberries, pecans and balsamic dressing
  • Cranberry Spinach Salad with Cashews and Goat Cheese and Lemon Honey Poppy Seed Dressing
  • Fall salad with arugula, roasted butternut squash, dried figs, toasted sliced ​​almonds and pomegranate seeds.
  • Easy Spinach Salad with Pine Nuts, Parmesan Cheese
  • Arugula salad with pears, apples and cashew nuts

Other ham recipes you may like