Begin by cooking a 12 oz. box of Orecchiette pasta until it is slightly al dente – just a bit underdone. It will cook more when added to the sauce. Drain in a colander and set aside.
Spread 2 Tbsp. olive oil evenly in a skillet over medium heat.
Once hot, add 2 tsp. minced garlic (or garlic paste) to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Add 2 cups of diced ham to the pan and cook until browned all over, about 5 minutes. The ham will literally start to “pop” and jump up out of the pan when it’s cooked enough!
Add 1 cup tomato sauce to the skillet. Stir to evenly distribute.
Pour in 1/2 cup chicken stock and stir to combine.
Allow the mixture to simmer, occasionally stirring, for 3-4 minutes until it thickens.
Turn the heat down to medium-low. Slowly and carefully add 1 cup half & half to the pan. Do this gradually and while stirring so it does not curdle.
Stir to mix evenly for about 1 minute, then allow to simmer for about 2 minutes. When it begins to bubble, slowly add in 1 cup Parmesan cheese while stirring. Break up any chunks of Parmesan and evenly mix it all in.
Sprinkle in salt & pepper to taste and stir to incorporate.
Add in your cooked Orecchiette pasta slowly and mix together completely. Your pasta may have stuck together a little bit in the colander, so carefully break it up with a spatula as you’re mixing it in.
Sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese and parsley for garnish, serve, and enjoy!