Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ham and Cheese Pasta Please!

This is a phrase that I hear often: "Mom can you pleaaaaaaaaaaaaaase make ham and cheese pasta for dinner? My boys absolutely love it, and it is extremely easy to do.
The ingredients are:

  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 3 TSP flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk (I use skim)
  • 3 TBSP cream or whole milk 
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • salt an pepper to taste
  • box of Penne or Mostacioli pasta
  • 1/4 cup pf Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • extra Parmesan cheese for topping
  • ham, I use the deli Black Forest Ham, a whole container
Steps:
1. Melt Butter
2. Add flour and mix
3. Flour and butter mixture turns into a roux (french term for this base for white sauce)
4. SLOWLY add milk, stir stir STIR!
Meanwhile, cook your pasta according to the directions on the box, but make sure it is under cooked for about 2-3 minutes less that what the package says. Remember, the water has to be salty like the sea!
How do you know when your sauce is ready? When you dip a spoon in and pass one finger through it, it will look like picture #3 and it will stay like that, the sauce will not be runny on the spoon.
5-6. At this point you can add salt, pepper, garlic powder, nutmeg and cheeses, stir. Here I add whole milk or cream, just for extra richness but not too rich!
7.You can then cut the ham and add it to the sauce, like in picture #7.
Drain the pasta.
9. Mix sauce and pasta and put it in a 9x13 baking dish.
10. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, moisten with olive oil if desired (it gets crunchier)
Put it under the broiler until it looks golden.
We eat this dish quite often!


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