Creamy Ham and Tomato Penne al Baffo – The Pasta Project

Creamy ham and tomato penne is an ideal weeknight pasta recipe. Not solely is that this dish tremendous creamy and stuffed with flavour however, it’s quick and straightforward to make. In truth, you’ll be able to have it on the desk within the time it takes to boil the water and prepare dinner your pasta! Often known as penne al baffo right here in Italy, this can be a nice recipe to make use of up leftover vacation ham.

creamy ham and tomato penne al baffo

Penne al Baffo.

Italians name this pasta recipe penne al baffo. Al baffo is an abbreviation of the expression ‘da leccarsi i baffi’ which means ‘so good you’ll lick your whiskers’. It’s sort of the Italian equal of finger lickin’ good! And, I’ve to say this dish deserves its identify. Despite the fact that its made wth just some staple elements, this creamy ham and tomato penne is certainly finger lickin good!

creamy ham and tomato penne al baffo

A bit penne al baffo historical past.

Penne al baffo is just not an previous conventional recipe. It’s a retro dish from the 70s and 80s, when pasta sauces with cream and tomatoes had been in vogue in Italy. Nonetheless, this recipe may be very fashionable these days too.

ingredients for penne al baffo on marble table
Collect your elements.

One other comparable recipe is penne alla vodka, which additionally has tomatoes and cream. However, has pancetta as a substitute of ham and peperoncino (purple chili pepper) for a little bit of a kick. After all, you’ll be able to add some peperoncino to penne al baffo as properly.

sliced shallots, chopped ham, chopped parsley, heavy cream and tomato passata in separate white bowls
Put together your elements.

Some Italian meals traditionalists look on pasta with tomatoes and cream as an unthinkable fusion of two Italian cuisines, particularly from the North and from the South. Within the south, tomatoes are a staple ingredient and would by no means be combined with cream. Whereas, they use cream so much within the North however tomatoes are much less conventional!

sliced shallots with olive oil in Dutch oven
Sauté the shallots/onions in olive oil.

The ham

One of many few elements wanted for this recipe is cooked ham. You may both use prepared minimize ham slices or a thicker piece of ham. I want the latter. So, this can be a nice recipe for when you have got leftover ham from vacation meals like Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas. Right here in Italy, we will purchase unsliced ham both in small blocks or the tip of a ham. That is what’s left from a complete ham after the remainder has been minimize for slices. It’s often superb and ideal for pasta recipes.

pieces of ham in Dutch oven with shallots
Add the ham and prepare dinner till it browns barely.

The tomatoes.

On the subject of the tomatoes, usually I might say contemporary is greatest, particularly if you may get maintain of San Marzano tomatoes. Nonetheless, a great high quality or selfmade passata (tomato puree) is ideal for this dish. In truth, most recipes for this creamy ham and tomato penne name for passata. Penne al baffo is a straightforward household meal dish made with pantry staples and little effort. You will discover passata (selfmade or retailer purchased) in each Italian larder. Utilizing it makes meal prep so much quicker than when utilizing contemporary tomatoes.

tomato passata added to ham in Dutch oven
Add the tomato passata

The pasta.

As I’m positive you’ll be able to think about, the go to and hottest pasta for this recipe is penne. I used penne rigate which suggests grooved penne. I like this sort of pasta as a result of the grooves assist the sauce adhere to the pasta. However, you may also use penne lisce (easy penne). I’ve additionally seen this recipe made with fusilli.

Combine every part collectively and simmer for 10 minutes

My penne was made by La Molisana a pasta maker positioned in Molise, Italy’s second smallest area. They produce a variety of bronze extruded pasta made with 100% Italian grains which I actually like (simply my opinion!) Additionally they make gluten free pasta for these on a gluten free weight loss program.

Pour within the cream, combine once more and simmer for five minutes.

Different elements for penne al baffo

Other than the tomatoes, the pasta and the cooked ham, this recipe has simply a few different elements. I used shallots. However, you should use regular onions. I feel yellow/brown or white onions are preferable as purple onions can have an effect on the color of the sauce. I’ve seen recipes for this creamy ham and tomato penne that don’t embrace onions, to allow them to be ignored when you want.

penne rigate from La Molisana

The opposite fundamental ingredient is cream. Right here in Italy, we’ve a long-life heavy cream referred to as panna da cucina. That is usually used for cooking. It has much less fats than whipping cream (panna da montare) and is definitely thicker than whipping cream or heavy cream.

Cook dinner the pasta and add it to the sauce.

We use panna da cucina so much in savoury dishes and that’s what I put in my penne al baffo. Recent single cream works properly too. However, chances are you’ll have to simmer the sauce just a little longer to thicken it as contemporary cream is extra liquid.

ready to serve creamy ham and tomato penne al baffo
Sprinkle with contemporary parsley and serve.

Variations and substitutions.

In Northern Italy, they make penne al baffo with speck or prosciutto crudo. There are additionally variations with guanciale or pancetta. Some Italians make this recipe with seafood as a substitute of meat. Hottest of the seafood variations are with shrimps or with canned tuna. However, I’ve come throughout recipes that embrace calamari or different seafood. Veggies are generally included too. The commonest are zucchini, mushrooms or peas!

creamy ham and tomato penne al baffo

So, that is actually a recipe you’ll be able to simply make your individual. I’ve not but made it every other means however want to strive it with shrimps. I’m positive it’s yummy too!

If you happen to do do that creamy ham and tomato penne, I’d love to listen to what you suppose. Please write a remark right here on the weblog or put up a touch upon the Pasta Challenge Fb web page.

Your suggestions means so much to me!

Buon Appetito!

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Creamy ham and tomato penne al baffo

Different pasta recipes that are nice for leftover ham.

  1. Pasta alla Papalina from Rome
  2. Tagliolini au gratin from Venice
  3. Neapolitan baked ziti with ham
  4. Penne alla Valdostana from The Aosta Valley

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creamy ham and tomato penne al baffo

Creamy Ham and Tomato Penne al Baffo

Jacqueline De Bono

Creamy ham and tomato penne al baffo is an ideal weeknight pasta recipe. It is so quick and straightforward to make you’ll be able to have it on the desk within the time it takes to boil the water and prepare dinner your pasta! A terrific recipe for leftover vacation ham #albaffo

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook dinner Time 20 minutes

Course Most important Course

Delicacies Italian, Mediterranean

Servings Four

Energy 755 kcal


  • 400 g penne pasta (14oz) or different pasta tubes
  • 200 g cooked ham (7oz) minimize into small items
  • 250 g tomato passata (9oz)
  • 250 g heavy cream (9oz)
  • 2-Three tbsp additional virgin olive oil.
  • 1-2 shallots or a traditional onion peeled and sliced
  • 1 handful contemporary parsley chopped
  • salt for pasta and to style
  • freshly floor black pepper to style


Make the sauce.

  • Sauté the sliced shallot gently in olive oil till it begins to melt. Add the ham items and sauté them for a minute or two over a barely increased warmth, till they beginto brown ever so barely across the edges. Add the passata and simmer gently till it begins to thicken (about 10 minutes). Add salt to style.

  • Add the cream and blend it with the remainder of the sauce. Let the sauce simmer for Four-5 minutes till the cream and tomato have decreased into a beautiful coral colored sauce.

End and serve.

  • Cook dinner the pasta barely lower than al dente based on the directions on the packet. Save just a little of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.

  • Add the pasta to the sauce together with ½ a ladleful of the pasta water. Flip up the warmth and let the pasta simmer within the sauce for a minute or two. Combine continuously, till the sauce has decreased sufficient to coat the pasta properly. Add the chopped parsley and serve instantly, with freshly floor black pepper and a sprinkling of additional parsley.


Some Italians make penne al baffo with extra cream than passata. I like equal quantities of the 2, however you’ll be able to modify portions to fit your style. Take a look at the textual content above for variations of this dish.

Key phrase genuine Italian pasta recipe, cream, ham, pasta al baffo, penne

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creamy ham and tomato penne al baffo

In case you are fascinated about studying tips on how to make selfmade pasta and various kinds of gnocchi, try my store web page for some nice video on-line programs from my pals in Rome! Nothing beats studying to make pasta from Italians! Plus when you’re there why not order a duplicate of my autumn/winter pasta recipes cookbook!?


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