Easy, cheesy Ham and Pineapple Pasta Bake is simply delicious. Best of all, this easy to prepare dinner is ready in about 30 minutes!
I know that there is a hot debate raging over whether or not ham and pineapple belong together. Personally, I think this salty and sweet pairing makes one heck of a team, especially in this Hawaiian pasta bake!
Using just a few easy ingredients, you can have a ready-to-serve meal in just 30 minutes! Pair your ham pasta bake alongside your favorite veggie, like this delicious broccolini, and you have a complete meal your family will love.
HAM AND PINEAPPLE PASTA BAKE
Like this recipe? Pin it to your DINNER board!
Follow Real Housemoms on Pinterest
Whenever I cook a holiday ham, I always end up with a ton of left over ham. Having a good leftover ham pasta bake recipe up my sleeve helps me to make sure that no food in my house going to waste. Speaking of not going to waste, I rarely have any leftovers from this cheesy ham pasta bake. The whole family cannot get enough of this dish and, as easy as it is to make, I have no complaints.
HAM AND PINEAPPLE PASTA BAKE INGREDIENTS
Okay, this is almost too easy. Four ingredients!
Pasta: A 16-ounce package of penne pasta is all you need for this Hawaiian pasta bake. I recommend sticking with the penne as they are the right shape and volume to properly fill your 9 x 13 pan.
Ham: You will need 4 ounces of diced ham. This should equal about 3/4 to 1 cup of diced meat, but feel free to use more or less based on your preference. You can use leftover ham if you have it on hand or if not, you can easily cook a ham steak just for this recipe. This recipe uses black forest ham but smoked or honey ham will work just as well if you need to use a substitute.
Pineapple: No one is asking you to cut a whole pineapple into 2 cups of tidbits, but you could if you really wanted! Personally, I just grab a can of Pineapple Tidbits from the grocery store. I usually prefer Dole or Del Monte brand because they are packed in 100% pineapple juice. Just make sure to drain your pineapple well before you add it to your ham and cheese pasta bake.
Cheese Sauce: The key to nailing this cheese sauce is all in the wrists- so keep stirring! Also, one 8 oz bag of shredded Havarti cheese blend and one 8 oz bag of Colby Jack shredded cheese is the perfect amount to make your cheese sauce and have some shredded cheese leftover to top the dish with. Extra cheese is totally optional- only in my house, it’s not!
HOW TO MAKE THIS HAM PASTA BAKE
If only every dinner was this easy, we would never order take-out again!
To make the Sauce:
Make sure you have all of your sauce ingredients pre-measured and ready to go before starting on your sauce! You will be way too busy stirring this cheesy concoction to stop and measure anything in the middle.
- Start off by melting the butter in a large saucepot over medium heat.
- Next, whisk in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. (It is totally possible to burn your sauce this early on!)
- Stir in the garlic powder, onion powder, dry ground mustard, salt, and pepper, and cook for another minute while you continue to stir.
- Now, slowly stir in the milk with your whisk and stir, stir, stir until there are no lumps.
- Now you want to bring the sauce to a simmer for 5 minutes or until it has thickened.
- Now all that’s left to do is stir in the Havarti and Colby Jack cheeses. And you guessed it, keep stirring until the cheese is melted.
- Once the sauce is ready, give it a try and add salt and pepper seasonings to taste.
To make the Pasta Bake:
- First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 9-inch x 13-inch glass baking dish or 3-quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- While your oven preheats, boil the pasta according to the directions on the package. When it is finished, drain the pasta. Make sure to allow all excess moisture to fully drain and evaporate prior to adding the sauce.
- Next, transfer the pasta to a large bowl and pour the cheese sauce over it. Stir until all the noodles are evenly coated in sauce.
- Now you’re ready to layer! Add half of the cheesy pasta to the prepared baking dish, spreading it into an even layer.
- Then sprinkle half of the diced ham and half of the pineapple tidbits evenly over the pasta. Once your first layer is built, add the second half of the cheesy pasta spreading it evenly over the bottom layer. Then add the rest of the ham and pineapple. So easy!
- If you have leftover cheese, (or just really like cheese!) feel free to sprinkle it on the top of the pasta bake. Again, this is totally optional, but I hate to see good cheese go to waste!
- After your pasta bake is assembled, bake it in the oven for 20 minutes or until it is hot and melty.
- Remove the baking dish from your oven and let it cool for about 5 minutes so you don’t get molten hot cheese sauce mouth. I like to garnish the top of this pasta bake with sliced green onions for some color.
SHOULD YOU COVER A PASTA BAKE?
With this cheesy ham pasta bake, you do not need to cover it in the oven. Because in my house I often go above and beyond this recipe and top my pasta bake with an extra sprinkling of cheese, covering it runs the risk of losing that gooey layer as it may stick to the foil. Besides, I love the golden baked cheese on top.
If you prefer to cover your pasta bake, you certainly can. If you are planning on adding extra cheese, I would suggest waiting to add it until after you bake it for 20 minutes and remove the foil.
HOW LONG DO YOU BOIL PASTA BEFORE BAKING?
For this ham pasta bake recipe you will want to boil the noodles according to the directions on the package. I usually just boil mine until they are al dente. The noodles may soften a little bit in the oven because of the cheese sauce, but there isn’t enough moisture to finish cooking them if the pasta is underdone.
Also, be careful not to overcook the noodles prior to draining them or you may end up with a mushy pasta bake. Failing to properly drain all the water out of the pasta may also lead to a potential pooling of water on the bottom of your pan which is not ideal either.
TRY THESE OTHER SUPER TASTY PASTA RECIPES!
- Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad
- Pasta Carbonara
- Cheesy Instant Pot Chicken Pasta
- Rigatoni Pasta with Mushrooms and Prosciutto
- Cheesy Sausage, Bacon and Sweet Potato Pasta Bake
- More DINNER recipes…
TOOLS USED TO MAKE THIS HAM AND PINEAPPLE PASTA BAKE RECIPE
Baking Dish: Perfect for casseroles and pasta bakes! I love how I can pop dinner right out of the oven and serve it directly from the pan!
Whisk: When you are committed to making the perfect sauce, this whisk is your best friend in a stirring frenzy.
*This post originally posted on 01/19/0215.
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 4 ounces black forest ham diced
- 2 cups pineapple tidbits drained
- Green onion thinly sliced, for garnish
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dry ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups Havarti cheese shredded
- 1 1/2 cups Colby-jack cheese shredded
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat the inside of a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain pasta and return to the pot. Set aside. (Do not place back on heat.)
- While pasta cooks, make the cheese sauce. Place a medium saucepot over medium heat. Add butter and heat until melted. Add flour to melted butter and whisk to make a roux. Cook for 1 minute.
- Slowly pour milk into the roux while whisking constantly. Add garlic powder, onion powder, mustard, salt, and pepper, and whisk to combine. Cook until thickened and just starting to bubble.
- Add Havarti and Colby-jack cheeses to sauce, one handful at a time. Stir until melted and sauce is smooth. Pour cheese sauce over the cooked pasta and stir to coat.
- Add half the pasta to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle half of the ham and pineapple over the pasta. Repeat layers one more time.
- Bake for 20 minutes until bubbling and the ham has crisped up a little.
- Remove from oven and top with some sliced green onion. Serve warm.
I made this last night and followed the recipe exactly. I was disappointed. It was very dry, and not very tasty. Unfortunately the leftovers ended up in the trash.
Aubrey Cota says
I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t work out so well for you.
Barbara Brown says
Still trying find out if you drain the pineapple tidbits!
Julie K says
Yes, they should be drained.