Ingredients (to serve 4):
4 cups uncooked extra-broad egg noodles
3 cups (1 1/2-inch) sliced asparagus
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup whole milk, skim, if desired
1 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup finely diced onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice
8 oz. cubed ham, low-sodium, if desired
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, packed
1/4 cup breadcrumbs, seasoned, if desired
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Preparation (30 minutes plus 15 minutes baking time):
1. Cook pasta in boiling water 7 minutes, omitting salt and fat. Add asparagus, cook 1 minute. Drain.
2. Lightly spoon the flour into a measuring cup. Place flour, thyme, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Gradually add milk and broth, stirring with a whisk until well-blended.
3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, sauté 4 minutes. Add milk mixture, cook until thick, about 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
4. Combine the pasta mixture, milk mixture, ham, and parsley in a large bowl. Spoon into a 2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese.
5. Bake in a preheated oven (450 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden brown.
Serve with a nice glass of light red wine ... Enjoy!