Ham & Cheese Ziti

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Ham and cheese ziti is a traditional dish that your whole family will clamor for. Make ham and cheese ziti with help from an experienced food advertiser in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Ham Recipes
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Monte Mathews from MontesHam.com, and I'm going to show you how to make ham and cheese ziti casserole. I think, ziti is one of the names that are most fun when you're talking about pasta. Every Italian pasta has a name, that it means something like the shape it is. Farfalle are butterflies and they look butterflies. Ziti, interestingly are actually bridegrooms and I'm not going to ask, why we think that bridegrooms would look like this. But it's fairly clear to me, what, how this got it's name. O.k., now, the first step is, to cook the ziti. We're going to follow the package instructions, except that the package instructions are for ten minutes, we're going to do it for nine. Because this ziti is then going to bake, so we want it al dente. So, now, what's really wonderful about this dinner, is that the entire thing is made in this Dutch oven. So, that's a one dish wonder, as far as I can see. Now, what you do here, is you melt the butter and once the butter is melted, you add one-quarter cup of flour, one-quarter cup of flour. And what you're doing is, making a roux for those of you who are a little more advanced in cooking. A roux is simply the base for a cream cheese, cream and cheese sauce. And that's what we're going to end up with here. It, the flour, what you're trying to do is, get this flour to cook a little bit. So that it doesn't have a floury taste. So, you, you want to put this in and you want to make sure that it cooks, the flour cooks. That looks fairly right, you can see the color has changed slightly, the flour is a dark golden color. Actually, I would say, a light golden color. So, now, what we're doing is, we're taking two cups of whole milk, and the whole milk is being added to the roux in the Dutch oven. This is going to make a really lovely cheese sauce. Now, I used whole milk, o.k., if you're on a diet, if you're thinking of either low fat, you certainly can use two percent. I just like the richness of the whole milk and I think that it brings a lot to the dish. I want to incorporate, thoroughly incorporate the flour into the milk. And then, we're just going to let it cook over medium heat for a minute or two, till it gets thicker. And the way you can tell whether it's thick enough, is you take the, you take your spoon, and if the spoon leaves a, leaves a mark. That generally means it's thick, I am not happy with this, I want it to be thicker, so I'm going to leave it for a little longer. Patience is a virtue of cooking, as it is in every other part of your life. So, I think it's better actually to cook it low and slow, just a little of time, that's all it's going to take. Now, what we're going to do now, is we're going to add two cups of cheddar cheese. Now, I chose to use extra sharp, because I love the taste of really sharp cheddar. So, it's two whole cups of cheddar cheese, added to the milk mixture, stirred around, because you want it to melt. And we thoroughly incorporate it, so you're going to just take your time, allowing that cheese to melt. Then, we're going to add another quarter cup of Parmesan cheese that we grated. This is going to give it a very rich, intense flavor, incorporate that. The next thing that goes in here, our ziti, which we cooked. Now, the ziti, you want to make sure that they really get coated in cheese, that everything is, oh, this is beautiful, this is really, really beautiful. Now, we have two important additions, one, is one teaspoon of garlic powder, to give it a nice garlicky flavor. Take a pinch of pepper at the same time. And now, we're going to add our ham, this is three cups of ham, this is Monte's All Natural Ham. So, what our ham is, how our ham is different from other hams. Because we don't use any nitrates or nitrites, our ham is not pink like supermarket ham, it looks much more like fresh pork. But the truth is, the flavor's all ham, because it's beautifully hickory smoked. Now, what's really nice here, is I'm going to add the final ingredient, these are broccoli florets. And what this does, is it gives you a nice frizzle, makes it a complete meal, doesn't it, you have this beautiful broccoli, the ham. I have a technique I'd like to tell you about. What I like to do, is just snip the broccoli off, using kitchen shears and that way, you get really small florets. Otherwise, if you cut them, you don't get nearly as small a floret. So, now, this one pot wonder is going to go into a casserole dish, and we're going to bake it in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. And dinner will be on the table. We've used cooking spray, and we're just going to take our delicious noodle casserole, and put it into this nine by thirteen Pyrex dish. And there we have it, our beautiful ziti casserole with cheese and ham and broccoli. I'm going to put this in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes, and we'll have dinner on the table in no time. This beautiful cheesy mixture of pasta and broccoli, ham and wonderful cheese sauce is going to be a family favorite from now on. I'm Monte Mathews from MontesHam.com, and I've just shown you how to make the most beautiful ham and cheese and ziti casserole. And the best ham that you'' ever taste, is the ham that you'll get at MontesHam.com. Our All Natural Hams are perfect for every dish that we cooked today.

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