Pasta with Prosciutto, Snap Peas, Mint and Cream

March 14, 2021
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This is a play on a classic: peas, prosciutto, cream and pasta. I make a pasta with jalapenos, cream and prosciutto, and so I built this sauce the same way but used peas instead of jalapenos. Fresh mint added at the end, along with the peas, gives the dish a light, springy flavor that pairs well with the cream, prosciutto and cheese. - lechef —lechef

Test Kitchen Notes

Although it may sound very rich, there are several details that keep this pasta sprightly and fresh, rather than heavy. First, lechef is not shy with the big flavors: 4 cloves of garlic, 4 shallots and a heap of diced prosciutto make the cream sauce sing, and the pop of crisp sugar snaps punctuates every bite. A fistful of parmesan gives the sauce body as well as a nutty tang. Make sure not to cook the peas for too long -- the key here is retaining just the right amount of crunch to offset the cream and starch. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 pound prosciutto shank, finely diced
  • 4 shallots, minced
  • 1 pint cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 1/2 pound fresh snap peas, whole, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 3/4 pound (3/4 box) pasta, farfalle or orechiette
  1. In a heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the garlic for 2-3 minutes until just beginning to color.
  2. Add the prosciutto and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. I use whole prosciutto shanks because my butcher has them, but you can also ask for a 1/4 inch thick slice of prosciutto and chop that up instead. I think this works much better in pasta than thin slices.
  3. Add the shallots and cook for 3-4 minutes to soften, and season with a pinch or two of salt and a turn or two of fresh black pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, bring your pasta water to a boil, salt it, and add your pasta. You will want to time the pasta to be finished just as the sauce is finishing so that the cream doesn't sit long.
  5. With about 3 minutes left on your pasta, add the peas and cook for 2 minutes. We want them to retain their crunch. With one minute remaining, add the cream and quickly bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the cheese, stir, and reduce the heat to low.
  6. Drain the pasta, and toss with the sauce to coat. Sprinkle liberally with fresh mint, and serve with black pepper and extra Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Aspenglow
  • Carol
  • Alice Swenson
    Alice Swenson
  • Gal
  • TheLearningCook

35 Reviews

ChefCara February 5, 2022
Lovely recipe. Improved it by adding lemon zest!
Aspenglow May 2, 2019
Great, classic Italian flavors of a typical spring pasta! Very good!
Carol July 31, 2016
Loved this recipe! Easy to prepare and so full of flavor!
Alice S. July 29, 2016
I'm thinking about using basil instead of mint. I just so dislike mint!
Gal May 4, 2015
Before anything, this is a fantastic recipe. I just made this dish for lunch over the weekend. Such an easy dish so rich in flavors!

Nothing beats fresh garlic! My only comment would be that I recommend to chop the garlic, rather than "mince" it ("mince" is finer, "chop" is bigger).
Garlic has the tendency to turn brown and bitter very quickly. (That's because of its unusually low water content. And because you usually mince or thinly slice the cloves, those tiny bits are even more vulnerable to direct, dry heat.) So chop the garlic and watch it not to burn!

While I feel the fresh mint is a must in this dish, I feel the cream makes this dish
a very unhealthy one. One of the reasons to avoid using cream is the high levels of cholesterol it contains, making this dish very high in calories.
For that reason I substituted the cream for One can of Coconut milk (Chaokoh brand is the best I think). If you never cooked with Coconut milk before, it is rich and thick and more like cream than milk, and does not at all leaves an over powering coconut flavor. While coconut milk has high saturated fat levels, the unique fatty acids (medium-chain triglycerides) in coconut milk may aid weight loss, improve immune function, reduce heart disease risk and improve skin health. Coconut milk is highly nutritious when ingested, it is vegan and it is lactose free so it can be used as a milk substitute by those with lactose intolerance. It is a better healthier choice than cream which had wonderful result in this recipe. (Another vegan alternative to cream for all your soups, sauces, and sides is ChefSteps' Genius Roasted Onion Cream recipe on the Genius section on this site).

In my fridge I already had Pecorino Romano cheese, which is most often used on pasta dishes, so I decided to use it for this recipe. It has a distinctive aromatic, pleasantly sharp flavour which made a very flavoured sauces. One thing to mention is that Pecorino Romano has a very salty flavour so I didn't put 1/2
cup but rather added a bit at a time making sure to taste until it was perfect.
And perfect it was.
Fiona R. February 5, 2014
This is a fantastic recipe. I used pancetta and halved the cream. To make up for the missing half pint of cream, I added a ladleful of the pasta water. The mint and the snap peas cut beautifully through the richness of the sauce. A keeper
chankari July 20, 2013
PS. As a non mint lover (I don't drink the tea or eat the chocolate or the ice cream...) I found the mint to be perfect in this dish.
chankari July 20, 2013
Made this tonight and it was beautiful and tasty! I used some local snap peas, mint and prosciutto. I made one big change and cut the cream to 1 cup (unintentionally! I swear. I read the recipe as 1 cup instead of 1 pint) but the pasta was still sufficiently creamy (disclaimer, I had just a touch less pasta than called for - because I was running out - about 280g instead of 340g (or 3/4 lbs). Looking forward to leftovers tomorrow.
Kari2011 June 18, 2013
Excellent. Timing of the sauce at the end was spot on. I used bacon as opposed to pancetta. I recommend the garlic to be sliced to prevent burning and turning bitter.
ntt2 May 23, 2013
Made this last night and it was divine! Thought that the mint worked very well - an added brightness to the springtime flavors! Regards, nt
TheLearningCook June 12, 2012
This was delicious. I particularly enjoyed the crunch of the snap peas in the cream sauce.
ubs2007 March 11, 2012
Love the idea of adding boastful flavors. However, this dish tasted bland despite the well-intended flavors of garlic, pancetta and shallots.
cinleeken January 16, 2012
I'd love to make this with my homemade duck prosciutto! Nom nom nom!
vivspy August 14, 2011
This looks great but I agree the mint is totally not needed and does not really compliment the dish. 3 stars out of 5. Carbonara is much better.
alexlutz May 16, 2011
My husband--the cook in our family--is away and your wonderful and relatively easy recipe really saved my bacon. It was so delicious that my son confirmed (2x): "You made this Mama? It's really good!" (I was not hurt) The small hints and asides about how to buy the prosciutto and how to time everything were so helpful. Thanks, lechef!
Mountain M. May 15, 2011
I just made this and it is amazing. I used a pancetta slab instead and crisped it. The mint is DIVINE in this dish; it eally adds a unique but very complementary flavor.
Susige May 13, 2011
This was tonight's dinner and it was wonderful! It will be on the menu for the next girls' night dinner party. I know it will be a hit!
citruslighning June 17, 2010
Made this tonight and loved it!
MarriedWithDinner May 22, 2010
we made this last week for a friend and while we all three thought the mint was perhaps a little out of place (though definitely not bad) the rest of the dish was amazing and absolutely a keeper.
KLE April 29, 2010
The perfect prosciutto for this would be La Quercia Crumble -- ground prosciutto totally ready to use and well priced for cooking. I agree that thinly sliced prosciutto would get rather lost in the mix.
lechef April 29, 2010
Ground prosciutto would definitely work here, and would save you the chopping time. I usually go for a 1/4 inch dice on the prosciutto shanks I use, just because I prefer the intense flavor in a larger bite.