Friday, February 11, 2011

Pasta with Smoked Ham and Cheddar Sauce

Homemade macaroni and cheese, dressed up a little with some top quality ham (yes, I've still got some of that awesome Christmas ham from Hager's in the freezer!). Local meat, local cheese, local milk. A good quality whole wheat pasta works well here.

3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk (room temperature is best)
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar
1 lb cut pasta (penne rigate is good)
2-3 cups cooked cubed or shredded smoked ham

Start by making a classic white sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan or deep skillet, then stir in the flour. Keeping the heat very low, whisk it constantly as it browns and thickens, bubbling. Slowly whisk in the milk a little at a time, over low heat. Whisk constantly until the sauce thickens a bit, then raise the heat to medium until the sauce reaches a simmer. Turn the heat down again at that point and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently (you can switch to a spoon for this).

While the white sauce cooks, boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water.

After the sauce has simmered for its 10 minutes, remove it from the heat and stir in the cheese, a handful or so at a time, until it melts. Stir in the ham.

When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pot. Pour the sauce over it and stir to coat evenly. Serve hot.

Serves 4-6.

No comments: