Pasta With Broccoli, Parmesan Cheese, and Ham

Penne Pasta with Cream, Parmesan Cheese, Broccoli, and Ham
Diana Rattray
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
532 Calories
34g Fat
31g Carbs
28g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 532
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 34g 44%
Saturated Fat 19g 97%
Cholesterol 132mg 44%
Sodium 1055mg 46%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 28g
Vitamin C 77mg 383%
Calcium 248mg 19%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 683mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This one-dish ham and pasta casserole is a snap to prepare, and your family will love it. Cook the pasta, quickly steam the broccoli and stir-fry the ham and garlic for a few minutes. The simple sauce is made with heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. 

The casserole is an excellent way to use leftover ham. Or omit the ham and it instantly becomes a delicious vegetarian dish.

Feel free to use mixed vegetables or peas instead of broccoli, or replace the ham with bacon, turkey, or chicken. See the variations for more ideas.


  • 8 ounces pasta (e.g., penne, elbows, shells)

  • 3 cups broccoli florets, roughly chopped (about 1 medium broccoli crown)

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups diced ham (about 8 ounces)

  • 1 large clove garlic, finely minced

  • 2 to 3 teaspoons chopped fresh basil, or 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf basil

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • Salt, to taste, optional

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water following the package directions. Drain in a colander.

  2. Meanwhile, put the broccoli pieces in a steaming basket. Bring about an inch of water to a boil in a medium to large saucepan. Put the steaming basket in the pan (above the water, so the broccoli doesn't sit in the water). Cover the pan and steam the broccoli for about 4 minutes, or until the florets are just barely tender.

  3. In a skillet or saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the ham and cook, stirring, until browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the basil, cream, and Parmesan cheese. Bring to a simmer over low heat and continue cooking for about 1 minute.

  4. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed. Combine with the drained pasta and toss. Heat through.

  5. Transfer the pasta mixture to a serving bowl and toss again at the table just before serving.

  6. Serve with extra Parmesan cheese, a tossed salad or Caesar salad, along with crusty rolls or bread.


  • Replace the ham with diced Canadian bacon or about 6 to 8 strips of cooked diced bacon. Turkey ham may be used as well.

  • Replace the broccoli with steamed or microwaved frozen green peas.

  • Make the casserole with turkey or chicken instead of ham, or omit the meat altogether and add more cheese, if desired.

  • For a gluten-free diet, serve the dish with gluten-free pasta.