With the flavours of a croque monsieur, this ham mac ‘n’ cheese is the perfect way to use up leftovers and makes a great comfort food!
behind the scenes
Ham Mac ‘N’ Cheese, where comfort meets tradition
There is often so much focus on turkey over Christmas. From the main event on the big day through to how to use up leftovers, there is no denying that turkey takes centre stage.
However, leftover turkey is not usually alone in our refrigerators over the festive season –in fact, more often than not, leftover ham is sitting right next to it!
And so while no one in the Jolly Festive kitchen would turn their nose up at a ham and cranberry sandwich, or the addition of ham to a turkey pie, we thought it was about time leftover ham get the limelight it deserves!
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Paired with the nuttiness of gruyere and the tang of emmental, this ham mac ‘n’ cheese encompasses all of the flavours of a croque monsieur, but in a rich, indulgent pasta dish –Hello stretchy pants!!!
I won’t lie, this does take a little more effort than some other dishes but do not be put off by making the sauce from scratch. It is the perfect activity for those days between Christmas and New Year where time stands still and calories don’t count.
Cheesy Goodness for the Whole Family
Plus, while the flavor combination may be a little more complex than your regular run-of-the-mill mac ‘n’ cheese, it is still likely to please the youngest and most discerning of palates while simultaneously keeping the older generations happy. It may just be the perfect meal for the whole family!
Now, when it comes to pasta, you really can use any form you like here, from penne to bow ties, they would all work. But my personal favourite is the cavatappi spirals. The sauce seems to cling perfectly to the curve of each spiral ensuring you get maximum cheesy goodness in every bite.
Move over turkey –ham mac ‘n’ cheese is here to stay!
Looking for more festive food & drink inspiration? We’ve got everything from sweet treats and main events to delicious tipples and edible gifts guaranteed to wow your family & friends.
Ham Mac 'N' Cheese
- 60 g butter unsalted
- 60 g plain flour
- 900 ml whole milk
- 150 g gruyere grated
- 150 g emmental grated
- 450 g pasta cavatappi
- 250 g ham cooked and diced
- 20 g butter melted
- 80 g bread crumbs
- 1 tsp parsley dried
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a 9x13” baking dish.
- Cook the pasta in boiling water until al dente. Drained ad run cold water over the pasta to prevent it from cooking further –it will cook further when in the oven.
- While the pasta is cooking, make the white sauce. Place the milk in a saucepan over low heat and bring to a simmer; remove from the heat.
- Melt the 20g of butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and mix to combine –it should form a sandy paste. Continue to cook the paste, stirring continually, until it comes lighter in color approximately 3-4 minutes.
- Gradually add the warm milk, one ladle at a time and stirring to combine. It may become a little lumpy –if so, use a whisk to bring back to a smooth sauce before adding the next ladle of milk.
- Once all the milk has been added, continue to stir the sauce continuously until it thickens; approximately 5-7 minutes. Once thickened, add the salt and pepper. Stir in the cheese keeping a handful of each separated to add later.
- Add the ham and the sauce to the cooked pasta and stir to ensure everything is evenly distributed. Pour into the prepared baking dish and top with the remaining cheese.
- In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parsley and melted butter to create a sandy rumble. Sprinkle this over the top of the mac ’n’ cheese and place in the oven for 25-30mins until sauce is bubbling and the top is golden brown.
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