Ham and Cheese Baked Pasta

Ham and Cheese Baked Pasta

Ham and Cheese Baked Pasta

How many ways can there be to make macaroni and cheese you may ask.  I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that new and different ways to prepare it keep popping up.  Here’s another one!

While I don’t need 101 ways to make mac and cheese, a new really good version is always a welcome addition.  What’s special about this one?  First, it includes ham, making this dish a good way to use up leftover ham if you have some; second,  the seasonings are a little unusual-mustard and garlic- subtle, but noticeable; and third, it uses Colby cheese instead of the usual cheddar, or Velveeta.  Finally the pasta called for in the recipe is farfalle (bow ties), but when I checked my pasta supply, I didn’t have enough so rather that mix two different kinds of pasta, I used campanelle that looks like little rolled up horns.  The kind of pasta you use is important because you want a form that will hold onto all the rich cheese sauce, and get nice browned crispy edges when its baked.

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The recipe is easy to make and put together, then it bakes for about 25 minutes.  It starts out with precooked pasta, ham cut into thin julienne strips, and a cheese sauce made from butter, flour, milk, and cheese plus seasonings.  Serve this casserole with a mixed green salad and you’ve got a wonderful meal, sure to satisfy even the pickiest eater.

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This could easily become a vegetarian meal by omitting the ham and subbing in a vegetable like broccoli, or edamame, or a combination of veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot.

HAM AND CHEESE BAKED PASTA

Yield:  Makes about 7 cups, serves 4 – 6

Ingredients:IMG_6329

  • 8  ounces farfalle (bowtie) pasta, or other shape pasta like campanelle
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cups milk ( I used skim milk)
  • 1/2 tsp. prepared mustard, like Gulden’s
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Colby cheese
  • 4 oz. cooked ham, cut into thin julienne pieces
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Lightly grease or spray an 8-inch square glass baking dish.

2.  Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil.  Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente;  drain.

3.  Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.  Sauté garlic 30 seconds.  Whisk in flour, salt, and pepper.  Cook and stir until smooth.  Pour in milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly.  Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly to keep it smooth.  Stir in mustard and Colby cheese.

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Continue to stir until cheese is melted.  Remove from heat and stir in pasta and ham.

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4.  Pour into prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

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5.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Leftovers ( if you’re lucky) may be reheated by adding a little milk to make the sauce creamy again.  Reheat in oven, covered with foil to keep from drying out, or reheat in the microwave.

SOURCE:    Allrecipes Magazine

 

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