This recipe comes out every spring when the Washington asparagus is on the grocers' shelves. We really like it (anything with ham is good) and it's pretty easy to make.
This speedy Asparagus-and-Ham Casserole is pure comfort food and needs only 10 minutes to bake. That's because most of the prep work (cooking pasta and making a light cream sauce) is done on the stovetop. Simply bake to brown the breadcrumbs and make the filling bubbly. Because of the delicate flavors in this dish, we preferred using a mild baked ham to a smoked one.
1 (1-ounce) slice white bread 3 3/4 cups uncooked extra-broad egg noodles 2 1/2 cups (1 1/2-inch) sliced asparagus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon black pepper 1 cup whole milk 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth 1 tablespoon butter 3/4 cup finely chopped onion 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed ham (about 8 ounces) 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 450°.
Place bread in a food processor, and pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs form to measure 1/2 cup.
Cook pasta in boiling water 7 minutes, omitting salt and fat. Add asparagus; cook 1 minute. Drain.
Lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Place flour, thyme, salt, and pepper in medium bowl; gradually add milk and broth, stirring with a whisk until well-blended. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion; saute 4 minutes. Add milk mixture; cook until thick (about 4 minutes), stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in juice. Combine the pasta mixture, milk mixture, ham, and parsley in large bowl; spoon into a 2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese.
Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden.
Richard, Your recipe looks so good. I might make with Panko instead of bread crumbs or might use up some of my frozen bread. This looks like pure comfort food to me. Thank you for sharing. It uses ingredients we always seem to have in our kitchen at this time of year, yes!