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Creamy Spring Pasta Bake (Julia's Pasta Bake)

Photo: Hector Sanchez Styling: Heather Chadduck

Active time 25 mins
Total time 1 hr, 5 mins
Yield

Serves 8 (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups)

Creamy and springy, Julia's Pasta Bake is a brunch favorite! Make-ahead: prepare the first two steps in advance and refrigerate until ready to bake. Prepare topping and bake until golden.

Ingredients

  • PASTA
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) salted butter
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 (16-oz.) block Swiss cheese, shredded
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 (16-oz.) pkg. farfalle (bow-tie pasta), prepared according to pkg. directions
  • 1 (12-oz.) pkg. cubed boneless ham (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen baby sweet peas, thawed
  • TOPPING
  • 1 cup sea salt-and-pepper croutons
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium. Gradually whisk in flour until smooth; cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Whisk in dry mustard, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Gradually whisk in half-and-half and milk; cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.

  2. Whisk in Swiss cheese and 2 oz. Parmesan cheese. Remove from heat. Stir in pasta, ham, and peas. Pour mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

  3. Prepare Topping: Process croutons and 2 oz. Parmesan cheese in a food processor until finely ground. Add 1 tablespoon melted butter, and process until combined. Sprinkle over pasta mixture.

  4. Bake in preheated oven until golden, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes.

Cook's Notes

We tested with Hormel Cure 81 Premium Cubed Boneless Ham and New York Texas Toast Sea Salt and Pepper Croutons.