Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ham & Shells....errr...Ziti Casserole

I recently received my first issue of Taste of Home magazine which I had ordered from a co-worker's daughter who was having a magazine drive fundraiser for her school. Knowing all too well the ins and outs of a magazine drive fundraiser considering I did the same for years in grammar school/junior high, I was happy to pick out a subscription. My Everyday Food subscription is running out soon so I decided it's time for a change and Taste of Home caught my eye.

Flipping through the magazine I already have several recipes I want to try, the first of which I made last night for dinner - a Ham & Shells Casserole. I used ziti since, well, that's what I had in the house and obviously it worked out just fine.

I would describe this dish as a fancy mac 'n cheese recipe with a twist. We love goat cheese so that drew me at first glance, but the combination of flavors is fantastic. We really enjoyed this dish and I think the leftovers will be that much better! The only change I made to this recipe was that I did not use 3 onions. My husband is not a fan of onions so I knew I'd be pushing my luck with that one - plus 3 onions seems like a little much. Instead I just used one onion which in turn meant Greg didn't even notice they were in there! He also had no clue there is Ricotta cheese in this recipe, something he claims he hates, yet I've used it in recipes without his knowledge and he's never batted an eye. Sometimes what you don't know, doesn't hurt ya!

I am also submitting this recipe to the Presto Pasta Nights weekly collection of pasta recipes. This was started by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast. This week's host is C of Foodie Tots - check out that link on Friday for her roundup!

Ham & Shells Casserole

(Taste of Home magazine)

1 pkg medium pasta shells (I used ziti)
3 large onions, halved & sliced (I only used 1 onion)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pkg fresh spinach, torn
1 tablespoon minched fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed (I used dried Italian seasoning blend)
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp pepper
3 1/2 cups fat free milk (I used 1%)
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup (4oz) crumbled goat cheese

2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in large skillet over medium heat, cook and stir onions in oil for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Add spinach & rosemary; cook 1-2 minutes longer or until spinach is wilted.

Meanwhile in a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in ricotta andgoat cheeses until blended.

Drain pasta; place in large bowl. Add the hand, onion mixture, and sauce; toss to coat. Transfer to a greased 9x13 bakind dish; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (I also sprinkled with more pepper on top). Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.


Ruth Daniels said...

It does look wonderful. And I'm with you...hiding things is a perfect way to get our loved ones to eat! Did it with my kids when they were little, and am still doing it to my husband. Shhhhhh....don't tell him.

Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

That Girl said...

This is a great use for leftover ham too!

Joelen said...

This looks like a great way to sneak in veggies and use leftovers! Yum!

Colleen said...

This looks like perfect comfort food!

Mary said...

This looks really wonderful. It's perfect comfort food.

Marie said...

Hi Robin, I came across your ham and shells in the Presto Pasta Night and wanted it immediately! Not sure there would be leftovers if I made this, but it would make a really great late night snack. :)