|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
This recipe is a great way to use leftover ham, and it's a delicious combination of flavors. The cheddar cheese sauce is mixed with cooked penne, diced ham, peas, and seasonings to make a tasty casserole, baked to perfection with a buttery crumb topping. Serve this flavorful pasta casserole with a tossed salad for a complete and satisfying meal.
- 3 cups (12 ounces) penne pasta
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups frozen peas (thawed)
- 6 tablespoons butter (divided)
- 3 green onions (thinly sliced)
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic (finely chopped)
- 5 tablespoonsall-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk
- 2 cups ham (diced)
- 2 1/2 cupscheddar cheese (about 12 ounces, divided)
- 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs*
Spray a 3-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or lightly grease with butter.
Heat the oven to 350 F.
In a large saucepan, cook penne pasta in boiling salted water following package directions. Drain in a colander and rinse with hot water.
In a saucepan or saute pan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the green onions, parsley, and garlic; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Stir in the milk and cook, stirring, until thickened. Add the ham and 2 cups of the shredded cheese and cook, stirring, until cheese is melted and the sauce is hot and bubbly.
Add the drained pasta and peas to the sauce, mixing well and heating through.
Spoon into the baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and toss with the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the shredded cheese layer.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until crumbs, are browned and the casserole is hot and bubbly.
Note: To cook the peas with the pasta, add the frozen peas to the pasta during the last 2 minutes of cooking time and add 2 minutes to the cooking time. Drain the pasta and peas together and rinse with hot water.
*For bread crumbs, tear a few slices of bread and put in the food processor; pulse until you have soft crumbs. Using day-old bread, croissants, or bulkie rolls, make crumbs and freeze them for casserole toppings.