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Chicken and Ham Pasta Bake
Recipe by National Chicken Council
Yield 12 servings
8 ounces penne pasta, cooked and drained
2 cups ham, diced into small cubes
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
3 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
2 cups chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces (2 breasts)
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
1/4 cup butter or margarine, cut into small cubes
-- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl combine pasta, ham and peas; combine thoroughly. In a medium sauce pan heat 2 1/2 cups milk and butter over medium heat. In a small bowl combine remaining 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch. When the milk and butter reaches a near boil, add cornstarch mixture and salt and pepper to taste. Stir constantly until thickened. Once thickened remove from heat and add Swiss cheese; stir briskly until cheese is fully melted.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix 2 cups of the Swiss cheese sauce with the pasta and ham mixture, coating as much of the pasta as possible with sauce. Pour into a buttered 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Cover with a thin layer of remaining sauce.
Dip chicken pieces first into the Dijon mustard and then into the breadcrumbs, coating thoroughly. Evenly distribute chicken on the top of the pasta. Toss 1/2 cup Swiss cheese with the remaining breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the top of the dish, paying close attention to any pasta not covered by chicken. Top with cubes of butter or margarine, evenly dispersed.
Bake 45 to 60 minutes or until the top is gold and bubbly. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.