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Cheesy Ham Peas Baked Penne Casserole

  • Author: The Kitchen Whisperer

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Ingredients

Sauce

  • 2 cups milk (can be fat free)
  • 1 cup half and half (can be fat free)
  • 4 Tbl unsalted butter
  • 6 Tbl all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup shredded Asiago
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella (could use 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere and 1/2 cup shredded Fontina)
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Pasta

  • 8 ounces penne pasta (measured before you cook it), cooked until tender yet still firm to the bite
  • 2 cups diced, cooked ham
  • 2 cups canned (drained) or frozen peas
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded provolone cheese

Topping

  • 4 Tbl melted butter
  • 1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F with the rack in the middle. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and half and half so that lumps don’t form and until all of the liquid has been added.
  2. Continue whisking over medium-low heat gradually adding the cheese in increments until the mixture is thick and creamy, 4 to 8 minutes. Stir in freshly ground pepper, salt and nutmeg. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
  3. Lightly butter a 3 quart baking dish. In a large bowl add the cooked pasta and the sauce; gently stir.
  4. Add in the ham, mozzarella and provolone and stir. Gently fold in the peas. Pour the mixture into the casserole.
  5. In a small bowl mix together the melted butter, bread crumbs and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Using your fingers, sprinkle the mixture over top. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake 20 minutes. Increase the heat to 400F. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling around the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
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