Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cheesy Ham and Pasta Bake

Adapted from: Cutting Edge of Ordinary and Recipe Girl

I used whole wheat penne, which comes in a smaller box, but it didn't matter. Also, I used a variety of cheeses to use up odds and ends. The recipe below is what the original recipes called for - provolone, parmesan and cheddar. The originals said that the provolone was key, but I didn't have any, and I thought it still tasted good, but who knows - maybe it would be better with provolone.

1 pound of penne (or other pasta of your choice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small onions, thinly chopped
1 cup frozen peas OR 2 ½ cups broccoli florets
2 cups diced ham
8oz provolone cheese, sliced/diced
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (plus a little more for topping)

For the sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons heaping flour
3 cups milk
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
cayenne pepper

Oven to 350. Grease a shallow baking dish.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. While the pasta is cooking heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and cook the onions until they become tender. Add in the peas or broccoli florets, cover and let steam until slightly tender.

In a saucepan melt the butter and then add the flour. Cook for a minute and then pour in 2 cups of milk whisking out any lumps. Bring to a boil and add the remaining cup of milk. Whisk in the mustard and salt and simmer for a few more minutes. Finish the sauce with cayenne pepper (if using) and the grated cheese. Stir to combine.

In a large bowl, toss cooked pasta with the sauce. Stir in the onions, peas or broccoli, ham, and cheeses. Pour into the baking dish and sprinkle with a little more cheddar (if you want). Cover with aluminum foil. Bake 25 minutes. Uncover and bake until sauce is bubbling around the edges and the center is hot (about 10 minutes more). Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.


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Alissa said...

Next time - don't over-salt the pasta water, because there is additional salt in the cheese, sauce and ham.