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“Sure Thing” Pasta with Peas and Ham Recipe

Sarah Pinneo, the author of Julia’s Child, shares a glimpse into her own life as well as her recipe for “Sure Thing” Pasta with Peas and Ham.

I’m very lucky to work from home. But even though I write at a desk that is only fifteen feet from my stove, there are nights when I am too busy to think about dinner until a half hour until I’m expected to serve it. One of the themes of Julia’s Child is how guilty Julia always feels when she can’t feed her family in a way that’s up to her own standards, especially when she’s working 60 hours a week on a business that feeds other people’s children.

 It helps, for both fictional mothers and real ones, to have a couple of go-to recipes for those nights when you need a quick fix. This is, hands down, my kids’ favorite meal. I save it for nights when I want to make everybody happy but have only a half hour to do it. It is not, however, a low fat food. I try to always serve this with a salad, if only to remind my own fat cells that I still care.

 Because they enjoy this dish, my two boys learned to like green peas. And because they are one of the few vegetables that freezes really well, I always have plenty in my freezer. When I don’t have ham on hand, I substitute cooked, crumbled bacon in a pinch.

“Sure Thing” Pasta with Peas and Ham

By Sarah Pinneo


1 pound of fusilli or other cut pasta (whole wheat or regular)

4 tablespoons butter

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup half and half

2 cups frozen peas

1/2 pound of ham, cubed

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

Freshly ground black pepper



Boil the pasta to an al dente preparation in a pot of salted water. (Usually between 9 – 11 minutes.) Before you drain the pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a very large skillet. Add the garlic and cook gently until the garlic softens. Do not allow the garlic to brown. Add the half and half, the peas and the ham. Bring to a simmer and then turn off the heat.

Add the drained pasta to the skillet, and turn the heat back on to a low setting. Gently stir everything together. Add the reserved pasta water, and stir to combine. Then add a quarter cup plus two tablespoons of the grated cheese and continue folding the ingredients together with a spoon.

Serve with a dusting of the remaining cheese, plus freshly ground black pepper to taste.

About Julee: Julee Morrison is an experienced author with 35 years of expertise in parenting and recipes. She is the author of four cookbooks: The Instant Pot College Cookbook, The How-To Cookbook for Teens, The Complete Cookbook for Teens, and The Complete College Cookbook. Julee is passionate about baking, crystals, reading, and family. Her writing has appeared in The LA Times (Bon Jovi Obsession Goes Global), Disney's Family Fun Magazine (August 2010, July 2009, September 2008), and My Family Gave Up Television (page 92, Disney Family Fun August 2010). Her great ideas have been featured in Disney's Family Fun (Page 80, September 2008) and the Write for Charity book From the Heart (May 2010). Julee's work has also been published in Weight Watchers Magazine, All You Magazine (Jan. 2011, February 2011, June 2013), Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine (Oct. 2011), Red River Family Magazine (Jan. 2011),, and more. Notably, her article "My Toddler Stood on Elvis' Grave and Scaled Over Boulders to Get to a Dinosaur" made AP News, and "The Sly Way I Cured My Child's Lying Habit" was featured on PopSugar. When she's not writing, Julee enjoys spending time with her family and exploring new baking recipes.
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