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Ham and Cauliflower Mac ‘n’ Cheese Bake

Submitted by: farmershae on May 25, 2011
1 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 5
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Ham and Cauliflower Mac 'n' Cheese Bake

This is a great way to hide a serving of vegetables – you barely even know the cauliflower is in there. Maybe it’s because of the obscene amount of cheese ūüôā This is a very flexible recipe. You can vary the cheeses (we like a smoked cheddar), add extra veggies (asparagus is yummy!) or change pasta shape. It’s a great starting-point recipe. Originally found in The Oregonian newspaper, then tweaked.

Difficulty: Easy

Servings: 8

Prep Time: 30 min   Cook Time: 45 min  

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground mustard
several grinds black pepper
1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 lb pasta (we use elbows)
1 small head cauliflower (about 1 lb) washed and broken into small florets – about same size as pasta
1/2 lb ham, cubed


Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9×13 casserole dish. Bring large pot of salted water to boil.


While the water is heating, melt the butter in good size pot over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for a few minutes to ensure that all flour is well coated with butter. Raise the heat to medium high and gradually whisk in the milk, making a smooth, lump-free sauce. Whisk occasionally as the mixture heats, and allow to cook until it bubbles and thickens, about 5 to 7 minutes. When thickened, turn off heat and add salt and spices. Add all but about 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese. Let sit a minute to allow cheese to melt, then stir until well-combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. (The sauce will be spread over a lot of pasta and veggies, so you want it to have a strong flavor.) Set aside.

Once your pot of water has come to a boil, add the pasta. Cook it for only half the time called for on the package – it should be firmer than al dente. When pasta is one minute away from being done, add cauliflower, stir and cook for additional minute. Drain very well. Dump the pasta and cauliflower back into the large pot. Add ham and the cheese sauce. Mix well, ensuring the sauce gets into all the nooks and crannies. Pour the mixture into the the prepared casserole dish. Top with reserved shredded cheese and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and raise heat to 400 degrees. Bake until it begins to lightly brown on top – another 15 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve.

Categories: Casserole, Crowd-Size, Main Dish, One Dish Meal, Pasta, Potluck

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  1. 6-5
    9:24
    am

    Thank you for posting this great recipe. I made this last week and sent it as my donation to a buffet luncheon. When people went back for seconds I truly knew it was a winner. I made this the night before and put in the fridge, baking it at 9am to take for my noon presentation. It brought many, many compliments and I am so proud to say I found it right here at the Chickens in the Road neighborhood. It is a very good recipe and stands up great and takes applause quite well. Jan

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