Wednesday, January 20, 2010


It was with this recipe for Macaroni and Cheese that I said goodbye a few nights ago to what remained of our ham:

Skillet Macaroni and Cheese
Serves 6

12 ounces penne pasta
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (or more to taste)
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
6 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) mild cheddar cheese, shredded
6 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) Gruyere, shredded
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
2 ounces (1/2 cup) diced smoked ham
1 1/2 cups crushed Saltines (about 25 crackers)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until just tender. Drain and set aside.
2. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, mustard, Tabasco, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until smooth. Slowly whisk in the milk and then the cream and bring to a bare simmer. Add the cheese in small handfuls, whisking, until melted.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pasta, peas, and ham.
4. Sprinkle the cracker crumbs over the pasta and dot with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Bake until the topping is browned and the cheese is bubbling, about 20 minutes.

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