Quick Parma ham with fried tomatoes, olives and herbs attempted

As a semi-bachelor I’m always looking for quick, tasty and preferably not terribly expensive food that is easy to make for one or two people. Tonight I share with you a recipe that almost worked. It was tasty, but the tastes were a bit muddled. Some simplifications to try later will be discussed at the end :)


  • 30g sliced Parma ham (used about 50g but that’s too much methinks)
  • 8 Calmata style (or other brown/black) olives
  • A quater “cake” of Feta
  • 20g fresh rocket
  • 20g fresh basil
  • Some sprigs of fresh thyme and origanum
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 60g (I’m guessing) pasta screws
  • A little oil for frying
  • A bit of grated parmesan cheese for garnish.

A recipe calling for Parma ham might seem like it would not be very cheap, but you actually don’t need much and it is easy to buy a small quantity from the deli section of most supermarkets. I have fresh herbs growing in my potted garden, so they’re free too :) I’d recommend washing the fresh ingredients before you start.


  1. Start boiling water for the pasta.
  2. In a heated and oiled skillet start frying the cherry tomatoes over medium heat.
  3. Remember to start cooking the pasta according to package directions once the water boils and also to remove it from the water when it is done.
  4. Strip the thyme & origanum from woody stems, and frighten them a little in a mortar & pestle. Guess you could chop them a little if you don’t have such a beast.
  5. Add the thyme & origanum to the tomatoes.
  6. After a minute or 2 add the olives
  7. Roll up the Parma ham and slice at +- 2cm intervals.
  8. When the tomatoes look wrinkled and old (from frying!) squash them to let the juice out.
  9. Add the parma ham, basil, rocket, and feta to the tomatoes, and stir around for a bit
  10. Add the cooked pasta, toss, remove from heat, add grated parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Notes & Conclusion

In spite of the number of steps, this dish was very quick to make, since you can do everying while stuff is cooking. Took about 25 minutes from start to finish. Taste-testing while making the sauce seemed very promising, but in the end I was a little dissapointed.I think this recipe suffers from too many good things. I think I could have used less parma ham, since it has a very concentrated flavour. More tomatoes would probably have been good too. Next time I’m going to forgo the feta, parmesan and olives completely; if that seems a bit bland I’ll add ingredients one by one.

These days I use Fatti & Moni’s wholewheat pasta in most of my pasta dishes. Initially I was sceptical of wholewheat pasta, but tried it out because its healthier. Much to my surprise I can hardly tell the difference in taste, and so far it has worked quite well in every dish I’ve tried it in.


  1. Le Roux
    May 12th, 2010 at 10:30AM

    Use a can of chopped tomatoes (or use a lot of chopped and probably peeled tomatoes) for the sauce with ham (I would prefer bacon), olives, basil, garlic and possibly some onion for a sauce, add to pasta.

    Pasta sauces are usually tomato or cream based. To me that works fine as a general rule of thumb. The moment something is saucy it helps the tastes to come together. Oh and some local supermarkets sell some really cheap parmesan style hard chease blocks nowadays - you just have to shop around. It lasts forever. (I never really got feta cheese to work in pasta before.)

  2. Neilen Marais
    May 12th, 2010 at 11:03AM

    Actually I really liked the taste of the fried cherry tomatoes. I don't think canned tomatoes would work here. It was also saucy enough IMHO, I really think I just need to leave out some ingredients rather than add more. Will let you know :)

    BTW, parma ham tastes much stronger than normal ham; not sure I'd prefer bacon to parma ham.

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