Creamy Farfalle Pasta with Prosciutto and Peas is one of the easiest weeknight dinners to have in your recipe rotation! Only 8 ingredients and on the table in under 30 minutes, this basic cream sauce is a family favorite! Farfalle Pasta is coated in delicious creamy garlic Parmesan sauce, with sautéed red bell pepper, prosciutto, and frozen peas. Switch up the veggies or the protein for a different versatile pasta dish every week! Simple, quick and easy, this may just be your new go-to pasta!
Why We Love It!
- Everybody Loves Pasta Night! – Creamy Farfalle Pasta with Prosciutto and Peas is one of our family favorite pasta nights. I traded notes with my Dad (an incredible cook!) when writing this recipe. He has made it and perfected it many times, along with its many variations. Perfect comfort food, we like to rotate a pasta night at least once a week! Above all, pasta is always kid-friendly, even if they do pick a few veggies out!
- It’s basic homemade Alfredo sauce, not from a jar! - Heavy cream is the magic ingredient, and I always have it in my fridge. You don't need to buy jarred Alfredo sauce. Alfredo sauce is just reduced cream, flavored with garlic and Parmesan Cheese. It's a perfect blank canvas to add different veggies and proteins. This is my favorite combination, a creamy pepper sauce with prosciutto, garlic and peas. However, the possibilities are endless!
- It’s fast and easy! – Simple bowtie pasta and peas are one of the quickest and easiest cooking nights of the week! On the table in under 30 minutes, so I often save this recipe for the busiest days. In the time it takes you to boil the pasta, the sauce is ready!
- If you love this recipe, be sure to check out my my other weeknight favorites like Easy One-Pot Jambalaya and Tuna Broccoli Pasta Bake!
- Farfalle Pasta - Farfalle (bowtie pastas) is my favorite for this dish because those little nooks and crannies grab the cream sauce so perfectly. But, this pasta with peas recipe is extremely versatile and any pasta shape will work! Make it different every time with penne, cavatappi, orecchiette, rotini, medium shells or any short pasta. You can also use linguini, fettuccine or even a refrigerated ravioli or tortellini.
- Butter - Butter is the base to saute the veggies and gives flavor to the cream sauce.
- Red Bell Pepper - Sliced red pepper adds great flavor and nutrition. But you can certainly make this vegetable Alfredo with other veggies like zucchini, mushrooms, or cherry tomatoes.
- Prosciutto - An Italian salt cured ham, prosciutto is absolutely delicious in this dish! You can find it packaged at the grocery store, or try asking at the deli counter. They can often shave you the 6 slices you need for this recipe for cheaper than the packages. Ask them not to put paper between each slice, for how little prosciutto weighs and how much it costs per pound, you are paying more for the paper than for the meat!
- Garlic - Garlic is a classic flavor in this creamy pepper sauce, and mincing your own fresh garlic is the best!
- Salt and Pepper - This sauce is simply seasoned with just salt and pepper. Nothing fancy needed, the prosciutto and veggies provide great flavor.
- Heavy Cream - The magic ingredient in Alfredo veggie pasta! Heavy cream keeps well in the fridge for about a month, so it's an ingredient I like to always keep on hand! As it cooks, it reduces and turns creamy. Yep, that's all an Alfredo cream sauce is, flavored and reduced heavy cream!
- Frozen Peas - I love pasta and peas because it is such an easy way to add another vegetable. Throw a bag in the freezer, they thaw easily in the sauce, and are just a great add-in for pasta.
- Parmesan Cheese - You can't have cream sauce without Parmesan Cheese! That finishing flavor is what makes the dish! I have found the best quality and often the best price is to buy a block and shred it yourself. It keeps in the fridge for months.
Step 1 - This simple sauce can be made in the time it takes to boil water and cook your pasta. Start by setting your pasta water to boil, salt it and cook your pasta following the time on the package. Meanwhile make your sauce. In a separate large pan or pot, large enough to toss the pasta with the sauce, melt butter and saute the peppers and prosciutto about 5 minutes.
Step 2 - Next, add in your garlic and season with salt and pepper. Then, add the cream and reduce the heat to low, allowing it to simmer and reduce until your pasta is ready.
Step 3 - When the pasta is ready, use a coffee mug to pull out a cup or so of the starchy pasta cooking water before draining it. This will be used to finish the sauce. Finally, add in your peas, drained pasta, and Parmesan cheese and mix really well with the burner still on low. At this point, you can serve the pasta as is, or you may want to add ¼ cup of the pasta water to stretch the sauce. As the pasta sits, it thickens. The pasta will absorb the sauce making it dryer, as this happens, add more water to compensate. You may need to add more pasta water when you come back for a second helping!
Tips & Variations
- This basic creamy Alfredo sauce lends itself well to lots of variations and substitutions. Red bell pepper and peas can be changed to spinach, tomato, asparagus, zucchini, artichokes or broccoli. You will just need to judge how long the vegetable you've selected should be cooked. Veggies that need more time, like zucchini or broccoli, can be sautéed longer at the beginning. Quick cooking veggies, like spinach, can be tossed in with the cream towards the end.
- Changing up the protein can also be a great way to create different dishes from the same recipe method. You could start the dish by fully cooking bulk Italian sausage or bacon in place of the prosciutto. Leftover cooked chicken could be added in with the cream. My dad always grills 3 Italian sausages to slice and add to the sauce at the end. This is a great way to feed more people or make sure you have leftovers for lunch.
- Storage - Store leftover pasta in the fridge for up to 3 days and microwave or reheat on the stove. Does not freeze well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Prosciutto is a cured ham, meaning it's not really raw. You can eat it as it comes or cook it. It is delicious uncooked on Italian Subs with Giardiniera!
Yes, you can easily freeze prosciutto! You can use chopped frozen prosciutto in bowtie pastas like this one, no need to thaw.
More Favorite Pastas!
Creamy Farfalle with Proscuitto and Peas
- 1 pound farfalle pasta (bowtie) could substitute any short pasta
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 red bell pepper sliced thin (could substitute ½ c jarred roasted peppers, chopped)
- 6 slices prosciutto roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 grinds fresh black pepper
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese shredded
- ½ to 1 cup pasta cooking water reserve before draining
- In a pot, set water to boil for pasta. When boiling, add a pinch of salt and cook according to package instructions, about 12 minutes. BEFORE draining, reserve a cup of the starchy pasta cooking water. A coffee cup works well to dunk in a pull out the water.
- Meanwhile, in the time it takes to cook the pasta, make the sauce. In a large round bottomed pan or pot, big enough to toss the pasta with the sauce, melt butter over medium heat. Saute bell pepper and prosciutto about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and season with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.
- Add cream and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer until the sauce starts to reduce and thicken and the pasta is ready, about 10 minutes.
- Add the frozen peas, drained pasta, and Parmesan cheese to the sauce and mix well to combine with the burner still on low. Add in the reserved pasta water a ¼ cup at a time as needed to reach the desired consistency, (total about ¼ to 1 cup). Turn off heat and serve with more Parmesan cheese and a side salad.