We had this for dinner a couple of weeks ago. It was very good, everyone enjoyed it, so it’s back on the menu again for this week! This is a great way to use leftover ham, or you can buy some boneless ham and cut it into workable portions to keep in the freezer. This is a great comfort food meal, one that I’ll make again and again.
NOTE: I used my Easy Stovetop Macaroni & Cheese recipe for this dish. If you have a macaroni and cheese dish you enjoy, you can certainly substitute that instead. The recipe below is basically the same, I just changed the type of cheese.
Macaroni and Cheese with Ham, Peas and Shallots
adapted from All Recipes
For the Macaroni & Cheese:
1 pound box dried elbow macaroni
4 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp dry mustard
2 cup milk
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 cup shredded smoked gouda
1/2 cup shredded American cheese
For the add-ins:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
10 ounces cooked ham, cut into small dice
1/4 cup dry vermouth
1 cup frozen peas
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly spray or butter a 13×9 baking dish.
Put a covered stock pot of water on to boil over high heat.
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a 10-inch skillet. Saute shallots until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add ham; continue to saute until meat begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add vermouth and simmer until liquid almost evaporates, about a minute. Add peas and cook a few minutes more.
Meanwhile, over low heat melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Combine flour, salt, pepper, paprika, and dry mustard. When butter has melted, add the flour mixture to the butter and use a whisk to combine to make your roux. Continue whisking and slowly add the milk, whisking to combine all the ingredients. Turn up the heat slightly and whisking often, thicken the mixture. You may see occasional bubbles, and that’s ok, but you do not want it to boil, just to thicken. When thickened, remove from heat and add the shredded cheeses, using the whisk to combine until melted and homogenous.
Drain the macaroni (do not rinse, the starch helps the cheese stick to the noodles) and place in a large bowl. Pour cheese sauce over the macaroni and stir to coat well.
Stir shallot and pea mixture into macaroni and cheese. Pour macaroni and cheese mixture into the 13×9 pan and top with the panko bread crumbs. Bake 20 minutes.