Easter Inspired Mac and Cheese with Smoked Ham and Gouda

This Easter my parents were away in FL with some of my other family members. I also had work during the day so sadly could not make it to Easter with David and Laura either. As such, I decide to take a more non-traditional take on Easter, with a long standing favorite of mine: Mac and cheese. With so many iterations, why not dabble with an Easter version? This one has smoked ham, smoked Gouda and peas. I used a spirally pasta (fusili) but elbows or shells would work well too.

You will need:
16 oz. fusili pasta
6 tbs butter, divided
1/2 small onion, diced
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground mustard
1 tbs dried thyme
2 tbs flour
2 cups milk
3/4 lb shredded smoked Gouda cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
2 diced ham steaks
1 cup thawed frozen peas
2 cups panko bread crumbs

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First I started by preheating the oven to 350. In a 3 quart saucepan I melted 4 tbs of butter over medium / medium high heat. Once melted I added in the onion, salt, pepper, ground mustard and thyme. Stirred it all together and sprinkled the flour on top. Let the flour cook for a few minutes. You want to cook out the floury taste from the roux, once it is foamy you can add your milk.

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Once the milk is added stir continually until it is thickened. Stir in the Gouda and the cheddar. The Gouda took a bit of time to melt. (This is the point where I also threw the pasta into a pot of boiling water, and cooked until a minute shy of al dente.) I used reduced fat smoked Gouda and could not tell the difference. The sauce was very decadent. Once melted I added the ham and peas to the sauce.

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I drained my pasta and put it back in the stock pot and stirred in the sauce until well mixed. I then poured it into a 4 quart casserole dish. I melted the remaining 2 tbs of butter in a bowl and mixed the breadcrumbs in it until combined, then topped the casserole with the buttered crumbs.

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I baked this in the oven for 40 minutes and let rest for a few more before serving. The result was a smoky, savory and creamy Mac and cheese.

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This recipe was even Easter bunny approved:

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About annsley423

I work in Boston at an online retail company called Wayfair.com. I work within the Order Processing department, trying to stop fraudulent orders among other tasks. My company has a large catalogue of kitchen items, which has been both helpful (to my cooking) and detrimental (to my wallet). I am a self taught cook, learning mostly from watching cooking shows and doing trial and error within my own kitchen. I am making this blog as a way to share ideas and successes, as well as curb boredom in my small apartment. In my spare time besides cooking, I like to read, take pictures and have fun with my friends. I am also trying to learn more about wine and hopefully that will eventually be incorporated within the blog as well.
This entry was posted in Creative Casseroles, Pasta Perfect and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Easter Inspired Mac and Cheese with Smoked Ham and Gouda

  1. Shanft says:

    And I totally ate half of it…

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