Mac and Cheese with Ham is a creamy, cheesy, comforting meal. The addition of diced ham turns mac and cheese into a hearty main dish meal. This is a pretty basic mac and cheese recipe that begins with a bechamel sauce made with butter, flour, and milk.
I added both sharp yellow cheddar cheese and white cheddar for a total of 3 cups of cheese. The cheese along with 1 pound of cooked pasta, (I used the traditional elbow but any shape will do), and diced ham are added to the bechemel. I also like to add a small amount of nutmeg for flavor.
The whole mixture is poured into a casserole dish, topped with buttered Panko crumbs and baked until hot. If you like, you can add a little cayenne pepper or diced jalapenos to spice it up.
Mac and Cheese with Ham is creamy and filling. Perfect comfort food for any time of year. Add a simple salad and you have a super easy, kid-friendly meal.
- 1 pound elbow pasta, cooked and drained
- ½ stick butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups milk
- 1½ cups shredded yellow sharp cheddar
- 1½ cups shredded white cheddar
- 8 ounces ham, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅓ cup panko crumbs or homemade bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Melt butter in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Add milk in a slow, steady stream whisking to keep from lumping.
- Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until mixture is thick and bubbly. Whisk frequently during this time.
- Season with 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg. Reserve ¾ cup of cheese and place remaining cheese in pot and stir until melted.
- Remove from heat and stir in cooked pasta and ham. Transfer to a lightly greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with remaining ¾ cup cheese.
- Combine panko crumbs and melted butter in a small bowl and sprinkle on top of mac and cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes.