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Macaroni and Cheese with Peas and Ham

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Serves 6

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 115

Peas and ham make a delicious addition to classic mac and cheese, while still keeping it kid-friendly.

Want more mac and cheese recipes for grown-ups or kids? Use the Recipe Maker to create a mac and cheese recipe that suits your tastes.

For the Topping:
  • 1 small garlic clove, mashed into a paste or pressed (optional)
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups coarse, fresh breadcrumbs, lightly toasted
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
For the Macaroni:
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 5 oz. finely grated sharp Cheddar
  • 5 oz. finely grated Havarti
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 cup diced ham
Make the Topping:

If using the garlic, stir it into the butter. Put the breadcrumbs in a medium bowl and drizzle the butter over the crumbs. Add a pinch of salt and the Parmigiano-Reggiano (if using). With your hands, toss well to combine. Set aside.

Make the Macaroni:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 3- to 4-quart saucepan. Whisk in the flour and continue to whisk over low heat for 3 minutes—the butter and flour should gently bubble and froth without coloring. Slowly add the milk, while whisking constantly. Be sure to whisk around the edges of the pan to get all the lumps. Whisk until the sauce is smooth and has the consistency of heavy cream, about 6 minutes. Raise the heat to medium and bring the sauce to a simmer, whisking constantly. Lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, whisking occasionally, for 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat and gently whisk in the Cheddar, Havarti, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Season to taste with salt. Keep warm.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 1 minute less than indicated on the package. Drain well and return to the pot.

Add the cheese sauce, peas, and ham to the pasta and gently stir to combine. Transfer the pasta mixture to a 9x13-inch baking dish and evenly scatter the reserved breadcrumbs on top. Bake at 350°F until the top is golden, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Variations

For individual servings: choose small baking dishes that hold 1-1/2 to 2 cups each. You can fill them to within about 1/2 inch of the rim. The number of servings will, of course, depend on the volume of your baking dishes.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 910; Fat (g): fat g 44; Fat Calories (kcal): 400; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 26; Protein (g): protein g 42; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 84; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 1220; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 130; Fiber (g): fiber g 7;

Photo: Scott Phillilps

easy recipe. yummy results. we mix different cheeses (keeping in mind when heated they need to have that melted consistency) and ingredients. we used pancetta rather than ordinary ham. we used the rendering from the pancetta rather than butter for the topping. a good recipe for the entire family to make together and enjoy.

Easy method, excellent results! Can't go wrong with this mac n' cheese recipe, it's flavorful, creamy, crunchy and of course completely hearty. The whole family loved it. Will make again!

Excellent! I used whole grain pasta, cheddar jack cheese (to keep kids happy), 2% milk and a little smoked paprika in the topping instead of garlic. Will make again! Easy method.

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