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creamy ham and tomato penne al baffo
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5 from 18 votes

Creamy Ham and Tomato Penne al Baffo

Creamy ham and tomato penne al baffo is a perfect weeknight pasta recipe. It's so fast and easy to make you can have it on the table in the time it takes to boil the water and cook your pasta! A great recipe for leftover holiday ham #albaffo
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: authentic Italian pasta recipe, cream, ham, pasta al baffo, penne
Servings: 4
Calories: 755kcal
Author: Jacqueline De Bono


  • 400 g penne pasta (14oz) or other pasta tubes
  • 200 g cooked ham (7oz) cut into small pieces
  • 250 g tomato passata (9oz)
  • 250 g heavy cream (9oz)
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
  • 1-2 shallots or a normal onion peeled and sliced
  • 1 handful fresh parsley chopped
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste


Prepare the ingredients.

  • Put a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again. Cut the ham into small strips or juliennes. Peel and finely chop the shallots. wash and chop the parsley.

Make the sauce.

  • Sauté the sliced shallot gently in olive oil until it starts to soften. Add the ham pieces and sauté them for a minute or two over a slightly higher heat, until they beginto brown ever so slightly around the edges. Add the passata and simmer gently until it starts to thicken (about 10 minutes). Add salt to taste.
  • Add the cream and mix it with the rest of the sauce. Let the sauce simmer for 4-5 minutes until the cream and tomato have reduced into a lovely coral coloured sauce.

Finish and serve.

  • Cook the pasta slightly less than al dente according to the instructions on the packet. Save a little of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.
  • Add the pasta to the sauce along with ½ a ladleful of the pasta water. Turn up the heat and let the pasta simmer in the sauce for a minute or two. Mix constantly, until the sauce has reduced enough to coat the pasta well. Add the chopped parsley and serve immediately, with freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkling of extra parsley.


Some Italians make penne al baffo with more cream than passata. I like equal amounts of the two, but you can adjust quantities to suit your taste. Check out the text above for variations of this dish.