This Mac and Cheese starts out as the yummy bits of ham
left next to the bone after the Christmas Holiday dinner has wrapped up. DON’T THROW THOSE BITS AWAY! Chisel them off and bag them airtight in a ziplock or vacuum seal bag and toss them in the freezer for one of those rainy, gloomy days when you need a baked mac and cheese as comfort to soothe the savage winter beast. If you really loved that ham, save and dice a couple of slices, for this specific purpose. You won’t be sorry! Once you’ve made this recipe you won’t want any other and you’ll find ways to work it into your menu more often.
Bring water in a pasta cooker or large boiler to a boil , add salt then add the macaroni. Cook for 8 – 9 minutes. Don’t over cook! Meanwhile start the sauce.
- 16 oz. elbow macaroni
- 2 tbsp. salt
2.1. Melt butter in a heavy 8 qt. saucepan over medium-low heat, add olive oil. Add ham, onion, and garlic, sweat until veggies are softened, but not browned. Add flour, seasonings and cook briefly to “cook” flour, but don’t brown. *Stir in the mustard.
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 3 tbsp. EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
- 1/2 cup. chopped ham
- 1/2 cup chopped purple onion
- 2 cloves crushed or grated garlic
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard (optional)*
- 1 tsp. each salt, white pepper, freshly grated nutmeg
2.2. Measure into a two cup microwaveable container and heat for 1 minute on high setting.
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 1/4 tsp. fresh nutmeg
- 2 tbsp. heavy cream
2.3. Add the warmed liquids all at once and continue to stir until sauce begins to thicken. Cook for two more minutes then add the cheeses and seasonings; stir until cheeses melt and the sauce is combined.
- 1 tsp. each salt, white pepper and dried crushed thyme
- 4 oz. grated gouda cheese
- 4 oz. crumbled swiss cheese
- 4 oz. c grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 oz. c grated smoked provolone
3. Putting it together
3.1. Add the macaroni to the sauce and toss to coat. Place all in a 9 x 18″ buttered casserole.
3.2. Add topping (below). Bake for22 minutes at 350°F, increase oven temperature to 400°F and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes until cheeses and crumbs are golden. Remove from oven and allow to set for about 10 minutes before serving.
- 1 cup garlic croutons, crumbled
- 1/4 cup swiss cheese, grated
* Use dry mustard, if you like or your favorite deli mustard … remember your recipe, your call.
Graciously say, “Thank you so much” for the repeated compliments you’ll be receiving.
©Barbara A. Ziegler/BAPantryGourmet.com 2013 -A subsidiary of Partridge Press All rights reserved