Monday, January 14, 2013

Ham and Penne Bake

Let's discuss the recipe Penne with ham, mushrooms , peas and cheese from Real Mom Kitchen.

Ok. Alright.  There isn't anything to discus regarding this recipe.  It's not like it's the recipes fault that it turns out weird when the chief can't manage to perform to a basic cooking technique.

Translation: I messed up on the rue so the casserole was a soupy mess.

I think perhaps Julia Child just rolled over in her grave.

Note to self: sauce will not magically come together in the oven if it hasn't thickened in the pan.

Fortunately, it was a tasty soupy mess.

When I strained the food from the "sauce" it looked like this!

Not too bad.

Aside from the problem with the sauce, I made a few other small changes to the recipe.

First, instead of a cup of chopped mushrooms, I added an entire 8 oz package of mushrooms.  For some reason I decided to chop them up in small pieces.  While this tasted great, there was much unhappiness from Blockette.  Small pieces of mushroom are difficult to pick out.  And she might accidentally eat one.  Apparently, the time where she actually wanted to eat mushrooms was only for two short months in the summer.  Probably because they were grilled.  Grilling makes almost everything taste good.  Even fish!

The second alteration I made was to add a half of a roasted orange pepper.  (I didn't have any red pepper.)  I was basically too lazy to measure 3T of chopped peppers out.

Third, I made my usual swap of Small curd Cottage cheese for the Ricotta.  Yeah.  I'm weird.  I don't like Ricotta.  I know.  No one complains when I use the cottage cheese so that's how I roll.

Fourth, I used a full 8 oz of shredded Swiss.  I knew that I wasn't going to use the Swiss cheese up before it got fuzzy so I used the whole brick.  Can you really ever have too much cheese?  No.  No you can't.

Fifth, I used 8oz of pasta instead of 6.  I had half a box so I cooked that whole sucker up.

Finally, I made the dish in a 9x13 pan because of all the changes I made to the dish.

I'm posting the original recipe here instead of a revised one with all my changes.  Just in case the weird things I did were the cause of the soupy nature of the casserole.  (Really, it was my improper preparation of the rue, but I'm drifting ever so slightly into denial.)

Layered Penne with Ham, Mushrooms, and Peas from Real Mom Kitchen
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
3 Tbsp. chopped red bell pepper
3 Tbsp. chopped green onions
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 cup milk
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups (10 oz.) diced smoked ham
1 cup frozen small peas, thawed
6 oz. penne pasta, cooked and drained
1 cup Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
1 cup (4 oz.) Shredded Swiss Cheese
1/4 cup (1 oz.)Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Cook mushrooms, red pepper and onions in butter in medium saucepan over medium heat 3 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in flour and pepper until smooth. Stir in mustard. Gradually stir in milk and broth. (This is where I screwed up.  GRADUALLY people.  gradually.) Heat to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in ham and peas.

Place 1 cup sauce in bottom of 8×8-inch baking dish. Layer half of penne over sauce. Spread with 1/2 cup Ricotta cheese, half of remaining sauce, 1/2 cup Swiss cheese and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Repeat with layers of pasta, 1/2 cup Ricotta cheese and sauce.

Cover and bake in preheated 375°F oven 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 minutes more. Sprinkle with remaining Swiss cheese and Parmesan cheese. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6

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