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pasta alla papalina recipe from Rome
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5 from 25 votes

Pasta alla Papalina: Recipe from Rome

This creamy fettuccine recipe from Rome is easy to make and seriously delicious. A great family weeknight meal and perfect for using up leftover ham! 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Central Italy, Italian, Rome & Lazio
Keyword: alla papalina, cream, fettuccine, ham, Italian recipe, pasta recipe, peas
Servings: 4
Calories: 843kcal
Author: Jacqueline De Bono


  • 400 g fettuccine or tagliatelle (14 oz) fresh or dried
  • 1 small onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 250 g peas (8-9oz) fresh or frozen
  • 300 g cooked ham (10oz) or cured ham
  • 200-250 ml heavy cream (1 cup)
  • 2-3 eggs depending on size. If large use 2
  • 200 g Parmigiano cheese (7oz) grated
  • 1 knob butter or olive oil
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • black pepper to taste


  • Shell the fresh peas (if using), peel and finely chop the onion, cut the ham into small cubes/pieces, beat the eggs in a bowl with the grated Parmigiano.
  • If using fresh peas you will need to cook them in a little boiling salted water for 10 minutes before draining and adding them to the sauce. Fresh peas take longer to cook than frozen.
  • Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again.
  • Cook the finely chopped onion in the butter or olive oil in a skillet or frying pan until translucent. Add cooked ham or prosciutto, and allow that to cook for a few minutes. Then, add the peas and cook for a couple of minutes more. If using fresh peas and they seem a little hard, add a little water and cook for a bit longer.
  • Then add the heavy cream (Italians use panna da cucina) and allow the cream to reduce a bit. Add ground black pepper and salt to taste.
  • Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet. Fresh pasta will need only 1-2 minutes. When cooked, drain the pasta (but keep it a little wet) and add it to the cream sauce. 
  • Then pour the beaten eggs and cheese over the pasta and sauce. Mix everything together well until the pasta is coated in a creamy sauce. Serve immediately, with generous sprinkling of ground black pepper and additional grated cheese if required.


Pasta alla Papalina is usually made with fettuccine but I also use tagliatelle. Although tagliatelle is slightly wider, there's often no difference between these two pasta ribbons.
You can leave out the peas if you wish. The original recipe is said to be without peas. However, nowadays many Italian include them.