I meant to share this recipe last week so you had a use for your leftover Easter ham… but alas, school got in the way. As Stephanie Tanner would say, “how rude!” I mean, why should school be more important than blogging? Kidding!
But despite the delay, this pasta is still as awesome as it was two weeks ago when I made it. I glazed the Easter ham this year with a mixture of 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons whole grain dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons honey, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Before brushing on the glaze, I scored the ham in diamond criss-cross pattern and stuck whole cloves in the points. After we feasted on the ham for dinner, I whipped up the leftovers into something just as fabulous.
It’s warm, comfy baked pasta dotted with savory ham, crisp broccoli, and sweet red bell pepper all wrapped up in a gooey, garlicky, cheese sauce that is utterly out of this world. Topped with some crunchy Panko bread crumbs, you’ll have a hard time saying no to seconds [or thirds!].
Ham & Cheese Baked Pasta
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- 9 ounces uncooked pasta, such as penne or ziti [approximately 3 cups dry]
- 3 cups broccoli florets, chopped
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups skim milk
- 8 ounces grated Colby cheese
- heaping 1/2 tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced [heaping 1/2 cup]
- 8 ounces cooked ham, chopped
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta to al dente, adding broccoli during the last minute of cooking. Return pasta and broccoli to pan.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, approximately 30-60 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in flour slowly, cooking until bubbly. Then add milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and stir in Colby, mustard, and a generous amount of black pepper. Stir until cheese melts, then pour cheese sauce over pasta. Add bell pepper and ham, and mix until combined.
Pour into ungreased 2 quart baking dish, top with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.
Bake, covered, for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.
Time: 45 minutes [20 minutes active].
Yield: 8 servings.