Baked Ham and Cheese Pasta (with White Sauce)

4.9 from 7 reviews

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This baked ham and cheese pasta (with white sauce). Cheesy, warm, and delicious! This is the ultimate baked pasta comfort meal to enjoy on a cold day. It is a meal the entire family will enjoy.

If you like baked pasta try Creamy Sausage Baked Ziti “White Baked Ziti” , Cheese and Broccoli Pasta Bake with White Sauce, Stuffed Lumaconi Pasta Recipe with Ricotta and Sausage, or Authentic Lasagna Bolognese with Bechamel Sauce.

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This meal is sure to please even picky eaters. It makes a great cozy Sunday meal, or make it in the morning and bake it in the evening on a busy weeknight.

It is indulgent and super satisfying. Grab a bowl and feel the “amore” in this baked pasta meal.

You can also get this casserole ready for the oven and pop it in the refrigerator and bake it when you are ready. A great make-ahead dinner and it’s delicious enough for entertaining guests.

Simple Ingredients

  • 1 recipe for bechamel sauce (see recipe)
  • Grated mozzarella cheese
  • Grated parmigiano cheese 
  • Bread crumbs 
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Thinly sliced prosciutto (or ham of choice- see below for suggestions), cut into thin strips
  • Short pasta, such as small shells, ziti, or rigatoni

Why you’ll love this recipe

This baked pasta is one of those dishes that is gone in a flash when dinner time rolls around. It is the kind of dish that you make again and again.

This cheesy pasta bake with ham is an easy pasta bake recipe that brings new flavors to a ‘mac and cheese style casserole.

Baked Ham and Cheese Pasta is a family favorite for any night of the week!

Cheesy pasta bake for leftover ham

Ham is a major staple for easy dinners and holiday favorites; unfortunately, you’re often left with a lot of meat and no idea what to do with it. 

The next time Easter or Christmas rolls around, you’ll know exactly what to make with all that deliciously juicy leftover ham!

What is Bechamel (white sauce)?

“Bechamel” is a milk-based sauce that’s thickened with a roux of flour and butter – it’s a classic French sauce (considered one of the “mother” sauces) but it’s used often in many other cuisines, including Italian.

This dish is perfect for cold, winter days for dinner – it’s the ultimate comfort food!

bechamel sauce in pan

How do you know bechamel (white sauce) is done?

Know your béchamel is done: A properly thickened roux should “coat the back of the spoon,” which means dip your spoon into the béchamel and then draw a finger through the coated spoon.

Does the sauce wipe clean, leaving an open space? Then your béchamel is done and ready. It will also stick to the spoon like in this photo.

Baked Bechamel ham and cheese pasta

What kind of ham can I use for the ham and cheese pasta bake?

I like to add prosciutto or hickory smoked ham. The prosciutto adds a fantastic Italian flavor to each bite.

I also love the rich and smoky taste of smoked ham. You really can’t go wrong! Here are some more alternatives:

  • Cooked bacon or pancetta
  • Canadian ham
  • Leftover ham roast cut into bite-sized pieces

Stir in the desired ham and see how wonderful it all comes together in this delicious dish.

Vegetarian Options:

Sauté veggies in a little olive oil and add it to this baked pasta dish.

Try:

  • Fresh spinach (make sure ALL liquid is removed)
  • Mushrooms
  • Peas
  • Thinly sliced Brussels sprouts
  • Cut asparagus

Make sure the veggies are cooked until tender, but not overcooked since they will continue cooking in the oven.

Can I make baked ham and cheese pasta ahead of time?

Make ahead If you need to make it a day before using, refrigerate the assembled pasta meal before baking. Add about 10 minutes to the baking time if baking pasta is refrigerated.

Leftovers …Oh yes! In fact, baked pasta tastes even better the longer it sets. If you assemble and bake the pasta ahead of time, it keeps in the fridge for about three days.

Pasta should not be left to sit out in the open uncovered for more than two hours. Make sure to store your leftovers after your meal!

Baked Bechamel ham and cheese pasta on a plate

What to serve with baked ham and cheese pasta

This homemade baked pasta recipe is filling and delicious! For sides, I recommend a few light dishes. Start with an Italian Fennel, Citrus, Pomegranate and Salad, and serve with a side of Fast Italian No Knead Ciabatta Bread.

Don’t forget dessert! Classic Italian Tiramisu Recipe (Authentic) or Best Lemon Bars with Shortbread Crust!

💙 MADE THIS RECIPE AND LOVED IT? 💙 Please leave a ⭐️STAR rating and COMMENT below- I love connecting with you! Tag me with your creations on Instagram and find me on Pinterest.

From my Cucina to your Table! Mangia! (Eat!)

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Baked Bechamel ham and cheese pasta close up in pan

Have you checked out my NEW CBE PRODUCTS? Take a look at the 2-in-1 cutting and charcuterie board, gorgeous apron, and unique pasta server that you absolutely need. The wood products are all handmade in Salt Lake City, Utah. They make great gifts as well!

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Baked Bechamel ham and cheese pasta take a piece out of pan

Baked Ham and Cheese Pasta Bechamel Sauce

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.9 from 7 reviews

Cheesy, warm, and delicious! This is the ultimate baked pasta comfort meal to enjoy on a cold day. It is a meal the entire family will enjoy. This meal is sure to please even picky eaters. It makes a great cozy Sunday meal, or make it in the morning and bake it in the evening on a busy weeknight. It is indulgent and super satisfying. Grab a bowl and feel the “amore” in this baked pasta meal.

  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

Bechamel Sauce:

  • 6 tbsp butter unsalted
  • 5 tbsp all-purpose flour all purpose
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons parmigiano
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • fresh ground pepper to taste

Other Ingredients:

  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 5 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced prosciutto (or ham of choice), cut into thin strips
  • 1 pound dry short pasta, such as shells or rigatoni

Instructions

  1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Make the Bechamel Sauce (can be made days in advance and stored in fridge):  In a medium saucepan on low medium heat melt the butter. Whisk in the flour until well combined with butter. Keep whisking for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rest of ingredients: milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper and whisk everything together.
  3. Cook for another 10 minutes and keep whisking as it gets thicker. Add the parmigiano and stir to combine. You will know it is ready when it sticks to the back of the spoon. Turn off heat and set aside.*
  4. In a large pot, bring to a boil 6 quarts of salted water. Add the pasta and cook until 2 minutes before al dente cooking time. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is still a bit hard. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.
  5. Drain pasta. Return pasta to the pot and pour in bechamel sauce. Using a wooden spoon, mix well until all the pasta is coated with the sauce. Stir in the ham and basil.
  6. Into a greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish, pour the pasta with cream sauce and ham. Smooth out top and sprinkle with mozzarella, parmiggiano, and bread crumbs.
  7. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until bubbling and the top is golden brown.

Notes

*Know your béchamel is done: A properly thickened roux should “coat the back of the spoon,” which means dip your spoon into the béchamel and then draw a finger through the coated spoon. Does the sauce wipe clean, leaving an open space? Then your béchamel is done and ready. 

  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 35-40 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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18 Comments

  1. I made this with leftover Ham from Easter. Oh. My. Goodness. So very delicious! My 16 year old son had thirds and afterwards said it was on his top 5 list of favorite meals. Thank you!! It was so delicious! The rest of the family agreed! My husband made himself stop at seconds. 😉

    1. Ha! Yes, it is such a YUMMMY pasta recipe and great for those leftovers. I’m so happy everyone loved it.

  2. This was amazing! Made it w left over ham and it was a hit. I’ll definitely be making it again..thank you for the recipe!






  3. I had some leftover ham from Christmas, and basil in my backyard, so I made this dish. It was very easy, quick, and delicious! I think I will make more sauce next time and save some for later. We love this dish!
    Thank you, Elena!






  4. So easy and delicious!! Thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes. Spent two weeks in Italy a few years back and its on my Bucket List for a return trip…… LOVE, Love, Love Italy and its amazing food….






  5. Yummy! Next time I’ll leave out the nutmeg though. I just don’t think I’m a nutmeg person. Otherwise it was very good.






    1. You can totally leave it out! It is a typical Italian spice for that sauce, but I sometimes make it without and it is great.

  6. We loved this delicious recipe and my husband doesn’t eat pasta but he made this on disappear! So easy, delicious and beautiful!

  7. My husband and I loved this quick and easy recipe! So delicious! All the recipes I have tried are amazing and the website is awesome! So easy to follow and the pictures are as wonderful as the food! It’s all mouthwatering!