How to make cheesy ham and broccoli baked pasta casserole

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This recipe for cheesy ham and broccoli baked pasta casserole might sound like down-home good food, but don't let it fool you. You'll be amazed by how elegant it looks when it comes out of the oven. The pinkness of the ham and the bright green broccoli add "pop" against that bed of pasta. In adition, it's baked in a béchamel that takes just minutes to make.
But just because it looks beautiful enough to serve while entertaining doesn't mean it's difficult to make. The broccoli cooks for just a minute or two right in the same pot as the pasta. Once you've made the béchamel sauce, the job is just about done. Ham and Swiss cheese go so wonderfully together, they bring this casserole to another level, but you can add whatever cheese to the sauce you'd like.
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Cheesy Ham and Broccoli Baked Pasta Casserole
6
5 minutes
45 minutes
50 minutes
3 cups penne pasta, uncooked
4 cups broccoli florets
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 cups Swiss cheese, grated
2 cups ham, diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9-by-13 casserole dish.
Cook the pasta in a large pot according to package directions. Add the broccoli florets during the last two minutes of cooking, and drain, retuning the pasta and the broccoli to the empty pot.
In a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter. When the butter has melted, add the flour and whisk with the butter to incorporate. Let cook for 2 minutes.
Slowly add the milk to the flour and butter mixture, whisking to avoid lumps. Once all the milk has been added, let the mixture cook for another 10 minutes to thicken slightly.
Add the Swiss cheese slowly, stirring as you do so.
Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and broccoli in the large pot and add the ham. Stir to combine and pour into the casserole dish.
Place the casserole into the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until it's hot and bubbling throughout.
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