Ham and cheese pasta bake with lots of vegetables, easy to make and bound to make your children happy!
This ham and cheese pasta bake is a recipe you can make at any time, probably. It is made with staple ingredients, things that you are very likely to have in the fridge or pantry. I know that I always have them.
Another plus regarding this recipe is that it allows using leftovers you might happen to have in the fridge. This is actually how this recipe was born.
The first time I've made this I was actually just looking to get rid of some canned corn leftovers and 2 celery sticks, which were way past their prime.
I gathered a few other ingredients and there it was: a tasty pasta casserole, a souffle-like dish, rather healthy, and something that my children would eat any day of the week without complaining one bit about all the veggies.
Actually, I think that mixing vegetables with pasta is the best way of getting your kids into eating any kind of veggies. Noodles just make anything better!
- Any kind of pasta. I often use macaroni, but penne, fusilli or whatever are fine as well.
- And if you happen to have several open packages of pasta in your pantry (like I often do), you can mix those pasta shapes as well. As long as the cooking time fits all the different kinds.
- I always use the peppers. And the garlic.
- Otherwise, the dish changes according to what I have in the fridge.
- Add a chopped carrot or a handful of broccoli or cauliflower florets, some green onions or leeks, maybe some sliced mushrooms or zucchini.
- Pretty much any kind of vegetable goes. Check your fridge and cook accordingly.
- I use whatever I happen to have, sometimes cooked ham and sometimes lean cubed bacon.
- I like bacon maybe just a little bit better because it is saltier and thus heartier.
- You can make the pasta bake vegetarian by leaving out the ham or bacon.
Eggs and milk for the sauce.
- I use Gouda cheese most of the time, which is probably the most common cheese sort in Germany. If I have Parmesan, I use a mixture of Gouda and Parmesan.
- I never buy already grated cheese, I find it really bad, it doesn't really taste of cheese and the leftovers go moldy in a matter of days.
- And have you ever checked the list of ingredients on the back of the package? It is looooong and most of the words are words no one understands!!! Why? It should be only cheese after all!
How to make?
- Cook and drain the noodles.
- Place in a baking dish and add all the chopped vegetables and ham or bacon.
- Whisk together the eggs, milk, grated garlic and spices. Don't be thrifty with the salt, the pasta bake needs it, both the noodles and the eggs need quite a bit of salt.
- Pour over the noodles and the veggies and mix. Mix half of the cheese as well.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
That's it! Pretty easy, isn't it?
Make in advance and store:
- Cook and drain the pasta, mix it with 1 tablespoon olive oil, just to make sure nothing sticks together.
- Mix with vegetables and ham.
- You can keep this mixture, covered, in the fridge for about 1 day.
- Only add the egg mixture and cheese just before baking.
- You can reheat the leftovers.
- If your leftovers are only occupying one half of the baking dish, make sure that you distribute the pasta mixture all over the dish.
- Reheat in the preheated oven at about 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is piping hot.
- The cooked ham and cheese pasta bake can be easily frozen.
- Let cool completely, wrap very well with foil, and freeze.
- Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven.
- If you only have leftovers, reheating will be rather quick.
- If you freeze the whole dish, it might take about 30-40 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You will just have to check regularly, to see if it is properly heated through.
What to serve with it?
How about some herb baguette? You might try this recipe if you like. It is made with baguette stuffed with garlic butter. Amazing! And so easy to make.
And never forget a salad. A light salad with vinaigrette or yogurt dressing is always good.
Or a chopped vegetable salad.
More noodle bakes?
CHICKEN AND BACON PASTA BAKE - Creamy chicken and bacon pasta bake with cheese and sour cream, this pasta bake has the potential to become a family favorite.
BOLOGNESE PASTA BAKE - This bolognese pasta bake is a perfect weeknight, family dinner that will please everybody.
TORTELLINI VEGETABLE BAKE - This recipe is just amazing! You have to try it!
LEFTOVER TURKEY PASTA RECIPE - A delicious leftover turkey casserole with noodles and white sauce.
CHEESY NOODLE TUNA CASSEROLE FROM SCRATCH - Incredibly creamy and cheesy tuna and noodle casserole made from scratch, this easy pasta bake will make your children happy.
Ham and Cheese Pasta Bake
- 8.8 oz pasta
- 1 small red bell pepper or ½ large one
- 1 small yellow or green bell pepper or ½ large one
- 1 small carrot
- 3 green onions
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup canned corn drained
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 3.5 oz cooked ham or bacon cubes
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¾ cup grated cheese See note
- 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher, more or less to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Cook the pasta according to the packet's instructions. Drain well. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prepare vegetables: Clean and chop the bell peppers, green onions (reserve 1 tablespoon greens for sprinkling on the pasta bake at the end), carrot, cherry tomatoes into small pieces. Drain the corn. Mix the vegetables, ham or bacon, and pasta in the pot you used to cook the pasta.
- Make the sauce: Mix the eggs, milk, mustard, grated garlic, and dried herbs. Adjust the taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Pour this mixture over the noodles and vegetables and stir. Mix in half of the cheese. Transfer to a lightly buttered baking dish.
- Bake: Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake for about 30 minutes until the cheese is golden.
- Rest: Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, sprinkle with the remaining green onions and serve with a green salad.