Rotini pasta may be used in place of penne, prep time does not include cooking the pasta --- if desired sprinkle 1-2 cups grated cheddar cheese on the last 3 minutes of baking time --- this is *very* good!
- 16 ounces penne pasta, cooked and drained (measure 16 ounces uncooked, I use half of a 900-gram package)
- 3 cups cubed cooked ham (or use as much as desired)
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon seasoning salt (or 1/2 teaspoon white salt)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional or to taste)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic (or to taste)
- 1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups half-and-half cream (or use half milk and cream)
- 2⁄3 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 4 1⁄2 cups grated cheddar cheese (a little more won't hurt)
- Set oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
- Place the cooked penne and the ham into a large bowl; set aside.
- In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat.
- Add in mustard powder, black pepper, seasoned salt and cayenne pepper and onion, stir and cook for about 4 minutes.
- Add in garlic; cook stirring for 2 minutes.
- Add in flour and mix continously for 2 minutes.
- Slowly add in the cream and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese; cook stirring over medium-low heat until bubbly.
- Reduce heat to low and stir in the cheddar cheese until completely melted.
- Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta and ham; toss until well combined.
- Transfer to a greased baking dish.
- Sprinkle the top with about 1/3 cup or more Parmesan cheese.
- Cover and bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
I tried this since it sounded kid-friendly, and it was! My kids snarfed it up and had seconds and thirds. I tweaked it a little since I am going wheat-free. You wouldn't have known it. I substituted brown rice penne and gluten free flour mix. Make sure to cook the pasta al-dente to keep it from getting mushy while baking. I used Hodgson Mill Multi Purpose GF Baking Mix in place of the flour. Also stirred in frozen peas & carrots at the same time as the ham.
I substituted 2 Tbsp dried chopped onion for the fresh since kids don't notice the onion pieces that way...just added them with the dried seasonings. Left out the cayenne. Also threw in a dash of ground celery seed, dried parsley, paprika, and garlic & onion powder. Delish!
Excellent dinner! Thank you! We did tweak it up just a bit and still came out delish. We used bacon instead of ham since my husband is not much of a ham person. We also used the Mexican Cheese instead of cheddar. Will be making it again soon according to the kids!
I really enjoyed this. I did add some steamed broccoli. The only downside was that it was super spicy. I usually like my food extra spicy but apparently it was too much for me. Next time I'll definitely lower the amount of both cayenne and black pepper. And there will be a next time! :)