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Creamy Ham & Pea Pasta Shells

Indulge in Comfort: Creamy Ham & Pea Pasta Shells

healty meal, low carbs meals, keto meal

Prepare to elevate your comfort food game with our tantalizing Creamy Ham & Pea Pasta Shells recipe. Brimming with creamy goodness and bursting with savory flavors, this dish is a symphony of taste and texture that promises to warm your soul with every bite. Whether you’re cooking for a cozy family dinner or simply craving a satisfying meal, this recipe is your ticket to culinary bliss. So, don your apron, gather your ingredients, and get ready to embark on a journey of culinary delight!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb large pasta shells
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup cooked ham, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnishing

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta shells according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, melt the unsalted butter over medium heat. Add the diced onion and sauté until softened and translucent.
  3. Add the diced ham and minced garlic to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until the ham is lightly browned and the garlic is fragrant.
  4. Sprinkle the all-purpose flour over the ham and onion mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes to remove the raw flour taste.
  5. Gradually pour in the milk and chicken or vegetable broth, whisking continuously to prevent lumps from forming.
  6. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 5-7 minutes.
  7. Stir in the thawed peas and grated Parmesan cheese until the cheese is melted and the peas are heated through.
  8. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the sour cream until well combined.
  9. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Add the cooked pasta shells to the skillet and toss until evenly coated in the creamy sauce.
  11. Serve the Creamy Ham & Pea Pasta Shells hot, garnished with chopped fresh parsley.

Cook Notes and Variations

  • For extra flavor, add a dash of nutmeg or dried Italian herbs to the sauce.
  • Substitute cooked bacon or pancetta for the ham for a different flavor profile.
  • Experiment with different types of cheese such as Gruyère or cheddar for a unique twist on this classic dish.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions

Keto Version:

  • Replace the pasta shells with zucchini noodles or shirataki noodles to reduce the carb content.
  • Use heavy cream instead of milk and omit the flour to thicken the sauce without adding extra carbs.
  • Increase the amount of Parmesan cheese and sour cream for added richness and flavor.

Low-Carb Version:

  • Swap the pasta shells for cauliflower florets or spaghetti squash to lower the carb content.
  • Use a combination of cream cheese and almond milk to create a creamy sauce without the need for flour.
  • Add extra veggies such as diced bell peppers or broccoli florets to bulk up the dish without adding extra carbs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I make this dish ahead of time? A: Yes, you can prepare the Creamy Ham & Pea Pasta Shells in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop before serving.

Q: Can I freeze leftovers? A: While it’s best enjoyed fresh, you can freeze leftover Creamy Ham & Pea Pasta Shells in an airtight container for up to three months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Q: Can I use different protein options? A: Absolutely! Feel free to substitute cooked chicken, turkey, or even tofu for the ham to suit your dietary preferences.

Q: Can I use fresh peas instead of frozen? A: Yes, you can use fresh peas if they are in season. Simply blanch them briefly in boiling water before adding them to the skillet.

Q: Can I make this dish vegetarian? A: Yes, you can omit the ham and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth to make a delicious vegetarian version of this dish.

In conclusion, Creamy Ham & Pea Pasta Shells is the epitome of comfort food perfection, combining creamy richness with savory goodness in every mouthful. Whether enjoyed on a chilly evening or as a satisfying meal any day of the week, this dish is sure to please even the pickiest of palates. With its simple yet delicious combination of flavors and easy preparation, it’s a recipe that’s destined to become a family favorite. So, gather your ingredients, whip up a batch of this delectable dish, and savor the joy of comfort food at its finest!

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healty meal, low carbs meals, keto meal

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