So last week I posted a recipe that was healthy and light to give readers a little break from the holiday heaviness. In today’s post, I am going to take a turn right back to Indulgence Town to share this amazing mac & cheese recipe we recently made at home.
I have met very few people that dislike mac & cheese. It’s somewhat of a staple in many of our childhoods and late night binges in college. Easy Mac, for example, used to be a go-to for my college friends and me when we came home late at night from the frat parties library and needed a little sustenance. Now, as I get closer to turning the big 3-0 (ok I don’t turn 30 until July but I can FEEL it coming) I seek out more “mature” versions of the foods I used to stuff my face with.
I came across this recipe while looking through my Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine, it’s a RR kind of week, and instantly wanted to try it! Very easy to make (it looks complicated but it’s not, just follow each step), took less than 30 minutes, and it’s fabulous. Super rich, so brace yourself. I would also add some breadcrumbs on top if I made it again, give it that extra crunch.
Rachael Ray’s Mac & Cheese with Leeks and Ham
- 1 large clove garlic, crushed
- 2 ½ cups whole milk
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon of EVOO
- 2 large leeks, cleaned and cut into 1-inch half moons
- 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme, chopped
- ½ lb. mild cooked ham such as prosciutto cotta, roughly chopped
- 5 tablespoons of butter (told ya it was an indulgence)
- 4 tablespoons of flour
- A little nutmeg
- 1 lb. penne
- 2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
- 1 ½ cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- A few dashes of tabasco
- Rub a small saucepan with the garlic and leave the garlic in the pan. Add the milk, chicken stock and heat over medium until warm. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
- In a deep skillet or wide saucepan, heat the EVOO over medium to medium-high heat. Add the leeks and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are wilted about 3-5 minutes.
- Stir in the ham, season with salt and pepper and transfer to a plate. Add the butter to the skillet. Once it melts, add the flour and whisk 1 minute to make a roux (so fancy). Whisk the warm milk mixture into the roux and season with salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
- Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the broiler.
- Salt the boiling water and add the pasta. Cook, stirring often, until al dente. Make sure you don’t overcook!
- Stir the Gruyère and half the Parmigiano-Reggiano into the white sauce and add a few dashes of the Tabasco.
- Drain the pasta and add sauce along with the leek and ham mixture and transfer to a 3-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano.
- Broil until the filling is bubbly and the top is browned, about 2-3 minutes.
Serves 6, great for next day lunch!