Last night was a wonderful night for a casseroley kind of meal. So we had baked macaroni and cheese with ham chunks and a buttery crumb topping.
It was so good, and for some reason I really enjoy taking pictures of cooking and baking, and explaining in a commentary of sorts about what I am doing. Maybe it’s because I love cooking and teaching, especially with my children.
So….you are my captive audience for this account of last night’s meal. I will share the recipe also, just in case you’d like to make it yourself.
Any choice of pasta is cooked until al dente, which means, literally translated, “to the tooth.” You don’t want it over-cooked, because during baking the pasta will absorb liquid from the sauce, and who likes mushy pasta? No one. Just do as I say. ;)
I chose shells for this dish because I love how they are like eating tiny little pockets of cheese sauce.
While working on the pasta, the sauce can be made.
And the buttered bread crumbs for the topping is quickly mixed up.
After draining the pasta, it is placed in an 11 X 15” baking dish.
The sauce is poured on and mixed, and ham that was cut into chunks by one of my Food Prep Fairies is added and then mixed in.
The buttery crumb topping is sprinkled evenly on top, and the dish is ready to head into the oven for baking…..
Until 45 minutes later, it is done and ready to serve up in all its cheesy goodness to the family.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
1 lb pasta, cooked and drained
½ c butter
1 c flour
5 c milk
1 lb Velveeta cheese, diced
2 c sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 c sour cream
1 tsp black pepper
1 ½ tsp salt
3-4 c ham, diced
Melt butter in large saucepan. Add flour and mix well with whisk to make roux. Slowly add 2 c milk, stirring with whisk constantly, until roux is thoroughly mixed in and there are no lumps. Add remaining milk and whisk well. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until thickened. Add next 5 ingredients, stirring frequently until cheeses are melted. Pour over pasta and ham in 11 X 15” baking dish and mix well. Sprinkle with crumb topping if desired. Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes.
Crumb topping: ¼ c melted butter mixed with fork into 1 ½ c bread crumbs. Crushed saltine crackers are also delicious in place of the bread crumbs.