There are few dishes that say cold weather better than a classic comfort food like macaroni and cheese. Besides being a perennial kid favorite, it’s easy to turn mac and cheese into a grown up dish, perfect for those chilly nights.
After attending The Art of the Taco bash hosted by Bobby Flay at the NYC Wine and Food Festival in October, I was reminded of a fabulous version of mac and cheese made by Bobby. That particular episode of Throwdown, from 2007, is one of my favorites.
Suddenly, I knew what else to make with my ShopRite Specialty Imported pasta! Mac and cheese!
I ended up using rigatoni, although Flay’s recipe calls for elbow macaroni. I made a couple of other changes to suit the tastes of my family too. Here’s my adapted recipe and you can see the original here at the Food Network website.
5-Cheese Macaroni with Ham
Adapted from Bobby Flay
Butter, for the baking dish
1 tablespoon ShopRite basting oil
1 large ham steak, trimmed and cut into small pieces
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups milk, hot
2 large egg yolks, lightly whisked
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves or 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups (8 ounces) grated Asiago cheese, plus more for the top
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated Irish white cheddar, plus more for the top
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated American cheddar, plus more for the top
1 cup (4 ounces) grated aged fontina cheese, plus more for the top
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for the top
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ShopRite Specialty Imported Pasta, cooked just under al dente
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a large baking pan or oven proof dish and set aside (I used a 13 x 9 baking pan).
In a large skillet or stockpot, cook the garlic in the basting oil until brown, about 1 minute. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the hot milk, raise the heat to high, and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the eggs until incorporated and let cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the thyme, cayenne, and all the different cheeses until completely melted. Season with salt and pepper. If the mixture appears too thick, add additional warm milk, 1/4 cup at a time.
Put the cooked macaroni in a large bowl, add the cheese sauce, ham, and the parsley, and stir until combined. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
Combine an additional 1/4 cup each of Asiago, cheddars, fontina, and Parmesan in a bowl, and sprinkle evenly over the top. Bake until the dish is heated through and the top is a light golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6-8.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: As a POTLUCKTM blogger, I received the ShopRite Imported Pasta from ShopRite for free.