Comfort food. (Yes, even in the summer.)
While I don’t love baking in the summer, there are some afternoons/early evenings when we get home from the pool and I actually crave warm comfort food like this. I think it’s the ‘been outside in the hot sun, then come home to really cold A/C with a wet bathing suit on’ thing – it really throws your body temperature off. So I end up wanting pasta like this. And then I end up making it.
This cheese sauce is outstanding…it’s “light” (not in the calories sense…because CREAM), but in the sense that it’s not super thick and does an amazing job of finding it’s way into every nook and cranny of all the pasta shells. I’m licking my lips, just thinking about it.
Toss in some veggies and some protein…and let’s call this a one-dish dinner!
Happy easy homemade cheesy pasta baking…
Cheesy Broccoli & Ham Pasta
Yield – 8 servings
Preparation Time – 10 minutes
Cooking Time – 15 minutes
- 12 oz. large shells pasta
- 16 oz. frozen broccoli florets
- 1 pound ham, cubed
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons garlic
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese + 1 /2 cup reserved
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Bring water to a boil and cook large shells according to package directions. When the shells have two minutes left to cook, add in the broccoli. Strain the pasta and broccoli together.
- While the water is boiling for the pasta, melt the butter and saute the ham, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper for a few minutes.
- Once the butter is melted, stir in 2 cups of shredded cheddar and whipping cream. Stir until the cheese is melted and the mixture is bubbly and thick.
- Pour the pasta and broccoli into the prepared baking dish. Top with the ham mixture. Stir gently and sprinkle with the 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes until mixture is bubbly.
- Remove from the oven and serve hot as one dish dinner, or with side salad.