Who doesn’t love comfort food? And personally, I don’t have just one comfort food, I have many. Macaroni and cheese is one of those comfort foods. Easy Mac and Stoffer’s are good in a pinch (or when I don’t feel like cooking) but nothing but nothing beats homemade.
Mac and cheese is a great base, too. There is so much you can add to it to make it even tastier: chicken, ham, pancetta, bacon, tomatoes, the list goes on and on. You can also choose your favorite cheeses. Choose cheddar as a base and then pick one or two other cheeses to add depth of flavor to the dish.
I chose diced ham – the Berks brand makes packages of diced ham – and tomatoes. I also chose Sargentos’ Italian Blend and sharp cheddar.
This was delicious, however, it made a lot of mac and cheese, enough for a family of four to eat dinner and have leftovers!
- Kosher Salt
- Vegetable Oil
- 1 lb. elbow macaroni
- 1 quart milk
- 8 Tbs. Unsalted butter
- ½ cup flour
- 2 cups hard cheese, shredded (I used an Italian blend from Sargento)
- 4 cup Sharp Cheddar, shredded
- 1 ½ cups diced ham
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 3 small tomatoes, sliced
- 1 ½ cups Panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Drizzle oil into large pot of boiling salted water.
- Add macaroni and cook according to package directions. Drain well.
- Heat the milk and 6 Tbs. butter in a 2 qt. saucepan, but don’t boil.
- Add the flour to the milk while whisking. Cook for a minute or two, until thickened and smooth.
- Off the heat, add two cheeses, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg and stir until smooth.
- Pour cheese over cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
- Arrange the sliced tomatoes on top.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and combine the panko. Sprinkle on the top.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on top.