Active Time
25 Mins
Total Time
1 Hour 5 Mins
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.

How to Make It

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 4

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

Chef's Notes

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

Ratings & Reviews

Amazing Pasta Dish

March 16, 2016
Absolutely delish!!! I thought this was one of the best meals I have ever made. My husband and both kids ate it up. I altered a few things to make it a little healthier (low fat milk, ff half and half, less butter) and it was still plenty creamy, cheesy, and rich in flavor, but not too rich. I also used Club Cracker crumbs as the topping since I didn't have croutons on hand. I will definitely be making this dish again.

Way too much cheese

June 01, 2016
Overall the concept is good, and didn't taste bad - but 16 oz brick of cheese shredded with parm on top of that, the uncooked mix was very stiff.  I prepared the dish pretty much as written (only 1% milk instead of whole milk).  Will try it again with maybe 1 C shredded cheese.  Would maybe also look for herbs or pimento to give it more visual interest.

Elevated Casserole

March 22, 2016
Upgrade to canned soup recipes for casseroles. Getting the roux ratios right can be tricky. I made half of the recipe for my husband and I. Cooked it in a 8x8 casserole. I made a few adjustments based on what I had. I used rigatoni pasta which worked well. I used Progresso Italian Bread crumbs and butter for the topping, and I added only 5 oz of shredded Swiss cheese that I bought in a bag. It was a high quality cheese that melted very nicely. The sauce did not pop with flavor until I mixed in the ham and baked it. Then it all melded together. The bread crumbs added a nice texture after they were toasted.

Creamy spring pasta bake

March 04, 2016
This dish is mediocre at best. I added salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the listed amounts and it was still very bland. It also was too cheesy for the dish. Add the fact that it is not the cheapest side dish either, I would look elsewhere for a side pasta dish