Learning to cook … one kid at a time

Ham & Tomato Mac-N-Cheese* September 28, 2010

Filed under: Recipes,Things that make me smile — gastromami @ 10:15 am

I think I’ve mentioned that this baby is begging for calcium!

I went a little crazy in the cheese section at Whole Foods so some homemade Mac N Cheese sounded perfect!  While I’m not a huge lunch meat fan, I think the very fact that I am not allowed to eat cold lunch meat had me craving some ham.  So, I grabbed some nitrite-free ham, whole grain noodles, fresh and plump tomatoes and headed home to cook up some good soul food!

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 lb. whole grain noodles (spiral or elbow)

2 1/2 cups milk

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

4 cups cheese (I like to use a combination of white cheddar and gruyère)

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 lb. nitrite-free ham, cut into cubes

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

2 large tomatoes, sliced or diced (in retrospect, I should have diced!)

For the crust:

Homemade breadcrumbs or panko

1/2 cup grated cheese (cheddar, gruyère or parmesan)

1 tablespoon melted butter

Pre-heat the oven to 350˚

Butter a casserole dish and set aside.

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water.  Drain, rinse, and set aside.

Dice ham

Grate cheese

Heat milk until just before boiling and set aside.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.  Once the butter foams up, add the flour and whisk for 1 minute.  While still whisking, slowly add the hot milk.  Continue whisking for 6-8 minutes until the milk mixture thickens.

Remove from heat and stir in some fresh ground black pepper, nutmeg, and cheese.

Stir in the thyme

Stir in the pasta

Stir in the ham

Place into casserole dish

Top with fresh tomato

Mix 1 tablespoon melted butter, breadcrumbs and cheese

Sprinkle over the casserole and bake …

… until golden brown!  (about 45 minutes)

Ren approved!

** A slight variation on Jennifer Chandler’s recipe in Simply Suppers!  While I have not gotten my hands on a copy yet I would highly recommend doing so!  I’m hoping for one wrapped up under my tree this December!


4 Responses to “Ham & Tomato Mac-N-Cheese*”

  1. Tes Says:

    Ummm mac and cheese with ham…. The pictures are so stunning! Can’t wait to try this!
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Caro Says:

    Looks yummy Gretchen! Ask Reny about my mom’s maccaroni and ham, it was my favorite growing up and her grandmother taught her how to make it. I make it for my HUGE teenagers now! It’s a crowd pleaser. I will try your version this week with them, and will let you know the verdict! =) (Hey little Reny’s hair is getting long!)

  3. Sarah Says:

    Hey, It’s Sarah Davis. I love your recipes…they make me dream of when I’ll have real homecooked food again. But this looks like something I could make in my dorm 😀

    • gastromami Says:

      ** Homemade food is great but I love, and miss, salad bars and fake mashed potatoes – I have a think for fake mashed with a hot turkey sandwich … I lived in the athlete dorm at Penn State so all of our food was “healthy” and I used to have to search out my gross lunch fix at other cafeteria’s!
      Hope all is going well – New England in the fall – nothing could be better!

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