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Penne al baffo

Penne with a ham, tomato and cream sauce


  • 500g 1 lb penne or other short pasta
  • 1-2 1-2 shallots finely minced
  • 250g 8 oz cooked ham cubed
  • 250g 8 oz passata di pomodoro preferably homemade
  • 250ml 1 cup cream
  • Olive oil
  • A pat of butter
  • A sprig or two of fresh parsley finely minced (optional)


  • Put on a large pot of water to boil.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet or sauté pan, sauté the shallot gently in olive oil and a small pat of butter for just a few moments, just long enough for it to soften. Add the ham and let it sauté for a minute or two, over slightly higher heat, until it has begun to brown ever so slightly around the edges.
  • Add the passata and simmer gently until it has reduced and the oil has separated.
  • Add the cream and let it simmer for just a minute or two, until the cream and tomato have blended and reduced into a lovely coral colored sauce.
  • While the sauce is cooking, throw the pasta into the boiling pot of water. Cook until it is just a bit under cooked to your taste.
  • Transfer the pasta to the sauce along with a ladleful of the pasta water. Turn up the heat and let the pasta simmer in the sauce. Mix constantly, until the sauce has reduced enough to coat the pasta well. Add the parsley and give it one last turn or two.
  • Serve immediately, with a sprinkling of extra parsley on top for color if you like.