Ham and Swiss Casserole
2 cups uncooked pasta (rotini, macaroni, etc.)
3 green onion stalks
1 can chopped asparagus, drained
1-1/2 cups cubed or diced ham
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
4 to 8 ounces Swiss cheese
1/4 cup finely processed breadcrumbs
Begin by preparing uncooked pasta to desired doneness according to package. While pasta is cooking, preheat oven to 350 degrees and chop green onions into small pieces. To eliminate extra pots and pans, I wait until pasta is cooked, drain, and transfer immediately into a glass 8″x8″ casserole dish. Add asparagus and cooked cubed ham; toss in casserole dish. Using the emptied pasta pot on the same hot burner, cook butter with the green onion pieces and garlic powder about one minute before adding flour. The resulting mixture will almost immediately solidify into small chunks similar to scrambled eggs in color and consistency.
Gradually add milk into the mixture, pausing every half cup or so to try and work out some of the chunks formed by the flour. While the remainder of the green onion and flour cook down, you can begin adding the Swiss cheese.
As the sauce begins to thicken, it will need to stirred more often to prevent sticking or scorching on the bottom of the pot. It’s a good idea not to let your heat exceed medium at any point (other than when boiling the pasta at the beginning).
Once the cheese has melted into a thick, uniform sauce, remove from heat and spoon over the pasta mixture in casserole dish. Don’t worry about stirring sauce in; it will naturally filter downward during baking.
Top the casserole mixture with an even coating of finely processed breadcrumbs.
Pop the casserole dish uncovered into the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until breadcrumbs have slightly browned and sauce starts to bubble.