Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ham-and-Noodle Casserole

As soon as the furnace starts to kick in, I know the season of casseroles is beginning. Easy to make ahead, even freeze, they are nice on a cold day. If you don't have leftover ham, purchase a ham steak. But this recipe is at its best when one uses Boar's Head Pesto Parmesan ham. Just have the deli slice it about 1/2 inch thick.

About 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups dry egg noodles. I used Inn Maid medium noodles.
2 cups cubed fully-cooked ham, such as "Boar's Head Pesto Parmesan Ham"
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup sour cream
1/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced without the stems
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion (not sweet onion)
3/4 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire (optional)
about 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste.

1 cup SOFT bread crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
1 cup shredded Parmesan

Cook noodles. Drain. Put in bowl with a bit of olive oil so they don't stick.

In a large bowl, combine ham, soup, sour cream, mushrooms, onion, mustard, seasoned salt and Worcestershire, cayenne. Mix. Taste and re-season if necessary. Add the noodles and mix. Transfer to an 11 x 7 x 2 greased baking dish or a 9x9 pan.

In a bowl, toss breadcrumbs and butter. Add cheese. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake uncovered at 325-350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until heated through. You may cover it with foil for the first 30 minutes and then uncovered for the last 15.

Note: To make fresh breadcrumbs, put a couple slices of bread in the mini-processor and whirl until breadcrumbs form. I don't like cubed, uniform ham chunks. Using a sharp knife held at an angle, I make thin non-uniform slices as if you really were using leftover ham. But that's just my own preference.

This can easily be doubled and you can freeze one.