Penne with Ham, Mushrooms & Peas

Sorry for my tardiness – I’ve been busy doing Very Important Things, like having lunch at Michael Allemeier‘s house, drooling over his Le Creuset collection, getting a few of his secret stash of wild strawberries to plant in my own garden, and trying to not let him see my knife skills.

(Although my belief is that if you can get an onion into pieces without taking any bits of your fingers with it, that totally counts as knife skills.)

When I arrived at his house yesterday, he was proofing bread in his dishwasher. Oh yes. At the very end, when it’s hot and steamy, he set two unbaked loaves on a board on the top rack. The heat! The steam! The brilliance! Why didn’t I think of that?

He bakes bread every week, using a starter named Jenny that lives in his fridge. Another story.

This penne – so easy, so cheesy – and a great use of leftover ham. We’ve been roasting hams on a semi-regular basis since the night W requested one as a bedtime snack. Turns out they’re about as low-maintenance as dinners get, and provide sandwich filler and leftovers for things like this pasta and this soup. I’m a fan of big bowls of cheesy pasta, especially when everything is tossed together in one go, and you can just dish up a big steamy scoop for everyone at the table. It was easy enough to make in about ten minutes at six AM for BT – the sauce comes together while the pasta boils. This is Michael’s recipe – it’s something he developed for the Dairy Farmers of Canada.

Penne with Ham, Mushrooms & Peas


May 29, 2012

  • Makes: Serves 6.


1 lb (500 g) penne pasta

olive or canola oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, crushed

a big pinch of dried chili flakes

1 cup diced ham

3 cups sliced button mushrooms

2 cups heavy (whipping) cream

2 cups peas (fresh or frozen)

1 1/2 cups Canadian smoked cheddar cheese, or aged Gouda

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Salt and black pepper


1In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook penne according to package directions until tender, but firm. Drain and set aside.

2Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet, heat a drizzle of oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring for about 3 minutes or until tender and fragrant. Add garlic and chili flakes and cook, stirring for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add ham and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring for 3 minutes or until water is starting to release from mushrooms. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring for about 5 minutes longer or until water is evaporated and mushrooms brown lightly.

3Pour in cream and bring to a simmer, stirring often (don’t boil it). Reduce heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly reduced. Stir in peas and heat through (if using fresh peas, simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until tender).

4Add drained pasta and cheese to pot and stir to mix well. Stir in parsley and lemon juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.


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25 comments on “Penne with Ham, Mushrooms & Peas

  1. Priyanka
    May 30, 2012 at 3:49 am

    YUMMY…very tempting

  2. stacey snacks
    May 30, 2012 at 6:56 am

    I bake bread every week now too, thanks to you posting Jim Lahey’s fig walnut bread!
    I have made the olive bread, choc coconut, lard bread and a fennel raisin. I am hooked, and no starter needed!
    I love the dishwasher shot! So clever!

  3. kickpleat
    May 30, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Oh Julie, that looks so good and creamy. How can you not love a rich and cheesy pasta? With home baked ham too? Nicely done.

  4. Barb
    May 30, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Oh ya. That looks like a keeper for sure.

  5. Jenny
    May 31, 2012 at 8:28 am

    I love that he uses his dishwasher to proof the bread – brilliant!
    But more than that – I love that his starter is named Jenny!!

  6. Sandy
    May 31, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Can’t wait to hear the story about the starter named Jenny. The bread in your photo looks yummy!

  7. Aga
    May 31, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I LOVE Michael Allemeier. He is so genuine. He once shared a recipe for Brussels sprouts sauteed with bacon that is my standby every Thanksgiving.

  8. Aga
    May 31, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I LOVE Michael Allemeier. He is so genuine. He once shared a recipe for Brussels sprouts sauteed with bacon that is my standby everything Thanksgiving.

  9. Laurie from Burnaby
    June 1, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    That’d be wonderful if it didn’t use pasta

  10. Cathy
    June 4, 2012 at 5:31 am

    great work. cant wait to try it myself.

  11. Angela
    June 6, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    My husband normally doesn’t pay attention to the food blogs I read, but as soon as he saw the photo for this recipe he wanted to know when I was making it. Just ate it for dinner tonight and it was delicious! Will definitely use this recipe again! Thanks for the yummy dinner!

  12. Tara S
    June 7, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Dishwasher – brilliant! 2C of heavy whipping cream – no can do!

  13. Dan
    June 18, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    If you are lactose intolerant like I am, what can you substitue whipping cream with or aged gouda?

  14. Melissa
    October 31, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Made this for lunch today and it is yum! So good, so simple. My 20 month old son asked for ‘more noo-noos’ with each bite–a huge accomplishment! He could care less for eating but this he loved. Thanks for posting. 🙂

  15. Mushrooms Canada
    January 30, 2013 at 8:26 am

    I’ve come back to this recipe so many times!! It’s just so tasty and I love making lots and having all those yummy leftovers. Thanks for posting this recipe, I’ll be back again soon, I’m sure!


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