Saturday, February 6, 2010

White Cheddar Mac & Cheese


What is better than a big pan of Mac & Cheese?  I love this recipe because it also has peas and ham in it so you get a little veggie with it too.  White Cheddar is pretty rich so this meal lasts several nights.  I found this recipe in Southern Living Magazine.

Note: I can NEVER find White Cheddar cheese already shredded.  The “Cabot” blocks in the picture below are the only ones I can find at the store.  I buy two 8oz packages and shred it by hand.  If you do this, set the cheese out to come to room temperature about 15-20 minutes before you shred it.  Makes it MUCH easier to shred!



-1 pound Farfalle pasta

-2 Tbsp unsalted butter

-2 Tbsp flour

-2 cups milk

-1/2 tsp salt

-1/4 tsp black pepper

-1/4 tsp ground nutmeg *see note below*

-1 pound white cheddar cheese, shredded (about 4 cups)

-1 package (10 oz) frozen peas, thawed

-1/2 pound finely diced smoked ham

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Cook pasta in lightly salted water following package directions, about 12 minutes.  Drain.

2.  While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan (not nonstick) over medium heat.  Stir in flour until well blended; cook 1 minute.  Whisk in 1 cup of milk and cook, whisking continuously, until smooth.  Whisk in remaining 1 cup milk and continue to cook, whisking until thickened and smooth, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat; stir in salt, pepper and nutmeg (**I do not have nutmeg in the house, so I use Pumpkin Pie Spice.  You can’t really taste any of it in the final dish anyway so you can omit it completely if you want to**).  Whisk in 2 cups of the cheese until smooth.

3.  In a large bowl, mix together the pasta, cheese sauce and 1 cup of the remaining cheese.  Stir in the the peas and ham.  Pour into prepared baking dish.  Scatter remaining 1 cup cheese evenly over the top.DSC_0254

--I don’t have the patience (or memory) to thaw my peas beforehand, so I put my frozen peas in a glass measuring cup and fill with water.  Break them up with your fingers a little bit and let them sit in the water for a couple minuets.  They will thaw out enough for the recipe!--


4.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.  Remove from oven; allow to cool 10 minutes.  May be served warm or at room temperature.


We added some Rosemary Focaccia – yum!


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