This speedy Asparagus-and-Ham Casserole is pure comfort food and needs only 10 minutes to bake. That's because most of the prep work (cooking pasta and making a light cream sauce) is done on the stovetop. Simply bake to brown the breadcrumbs and make the filling bubbly. Because of the delicate flavors in this dish, we preferred using a mild baked ham to a smoked one.
1 (1-ounce) slice white bread
3 3/4 cups uncooked extra-broad egg noodles
2 1/2 cups (1 1/2-inch) sliced asparagus
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup whole milk
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed ham (about 8 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 450°.
Place bread in a food processor, and pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs form to measure 1/2 cup.
Cook pasta in boiling water 7 minutes, omitting salt and fat. Add asparagus; cook 1 minute. Drain.
Lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Place flour, thyme, salt, and pepper in medium bowl; gradually add milk and broth, stirring with a whisk until well-blended. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion; saute 4 minutes. Add milk mixture; cook until thick (about 4 minutes), stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in juice. Combine the pasta mixture, milk mixture, ham, and parsley in large bowl; spoon into a 2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese.
Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden.
I made the recipe exactly as written and loved it! If you are not a big fan of thyme, you might want to reduce it to 1/4 teaspoon. Good combination of various flavors, colors, and textures. A bit time-consuming in terms of prep, but worth it.
This is delicious!! My 3 year son is fairly picky but he really enjoyed this tonight. I used frozen, chopped broccoli for the vegetable for convenience and it turned out well. Great for entertaining or for weeknight dinners!!
Made recipe as is and added mushrooms to the onions. I also used Panko crumbs instead of normal bread crumbs. Very easy to make, simple and had everything on hand. Good for everyday meals and could be used as a course in a menu. Will be making again.
I really enjoyed this! It was easy to make and easy to clean up. The only changes I made was using whole wheat bread instead of white and nonfat milk instead of whole because I am an obsessive health nut. Everything else was exactly as is; cooking times were perfectly exact. I wouldn't give it 4 or 5 stars because I wouldn't make this if I was having company over, but it will definitely be saved in my everyday dinner file :)