Kel’s Heavenly Ham and Bowtie Pasta With Creamy Garlic Cheese Sauce

Kel's Ham and Bowtie Pasta with Creamy Garlic Cheese Sauce

More than likely, if you bake a ham for Easter, you will have leftovers. Here is a delicious and easy recipe to use up some of that ham in a most comforting way. Better yet, it is based on a pasta dish from Weight Watchers® so even though it tastes decadent, using low-fat cheeses and milk make the sauce guilt-free (well, almost.) And boiling the garlic in the pasta water adds extra flavor to the bowties.

I had one of those spiral hams with a brown sugar glaze, which, along with the green peas, added some sweetness to this dish. Doesn’t this look like spring on a plate? Yummy!

Springtime on a plate!


Ingredients (Serves 4)

Kel's Ham and pasta ingredients

  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 ¼ cups bowtie pasta
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 can low-fat 2% evaporated milk (you can substitute no-fat milk if desired)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (I used 2%), grated
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 ½ cups cooked ham, diced small
  • 1 ½ cups frozen green peas, thawed
  • Reserved pasta water
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • Seasoned salt to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper


Cook the garlic in a large pot of salted boiling water for 5 minutes, until it is soft. Remove it with a slotted spoon, mince it and set it aside to use later.

boil garlic

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, 10-12 minutes (or whatever the package recommends.) Drain the pasta, saving the water you boiled it in.

boil bowties

Melt the butter in a skillet. Stir in the flour, and gradually add the milk until well blended. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, frequently stirring, until the mixture thickens. Add the garlic, cheddar and parmesan, and stir until the cheeses have melted.

Add cheeses and garlic to the sauce

Fold in the ham and peas and blend well.

Stir in ham and peas

Add the bowties. At this point you may need to add some of the reserved pasta water to thin the sauce. I used about ¾ cup. Season with the hot sauce and salt, and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Fold in pasta and add pasta water as needed

I like to top this with some grated parmesan and fresh ground black pepper once it’s plated. This pasta goes great with a glass of crisp, white wine. Or a salad, if you insist. And it reheats well in the microwave if you have any leftovers.

Serve Kel's pasta with white wine

Bon appétit!

Eat, drink and be merry!

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2 Responses to Kel’s Heavenly Ham and Bowtie Pasta With Creamy Garlic Cheese Sauce

  1. Ira Jackson says:

    Looks great…if I could only get Nina to eat green peas! Got any substitute ideas? (For the peas, that is. LOL.)


    • Hi Jerry,

      If Nina eats green beans, I would replace the peas with some steamed ones, cut into bite-sized pieces. Crisp roasted asparagus would also work, as well as broccoli florets (although I know you hate broccoli.) Or just replace the peas with more ham, and there you go!


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