Total Time:
1 Hour
Yield:
Makes 8 servings

Nothing tastes more like childhood than mac and cheese. If your toddlers (or teens… or significant other...) request this cheesy pasta all the time, your everyday Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe might be working overtime. Although your go-to recipe is that way for a reason, why not switch things up by adding a bit of ham?

In our Mac and Cheese with Ham recipe, chopped, smoked ham rounds out the dish, making it a heartier main dish than its meatless counterparts. The creamy mixture of meat, pasta, and cheese – including Gouda and sharp Cheddar cheese – is topped off with crushed cornflakes and melted butter, making a second serving inescapable.

Better yet, you can keep the pasta variety alive even on the umpteenth request for mac and cheese with easy variations to this recipe. We’ve included adaptations for a Pepper Jack Macaroni and Cheese, Sweet Pea-and-Prosciutto Macaroni and Cheese, Pimiento Macaroni and Cheese, and Ham-and-Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese as well.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare cellentani pasta according to package directions.

Step 2

Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Gradually whisk in flour; cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk and evaporated milk until smooth; cook, whisking constantly, 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Whisk in Gouda cheese, next 3 ingredients, and 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper until smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in ham and pasta.

Step 3

Pour pasta mixture into a 13- x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Stir together crushed cereal, 1 Tbsp. melted butter, and remaining 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper; sprinkle over pasta mixture.

Step 4

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Chef's Notes

We tested with Barilla Cellentani pasta and Cabot 5% Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese.

VARIATIONS: 

Ham-and-Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese: Stir 1 1/2 cups frozen broccoli florets, thawed and coarsely chopped, into pasta mixture.

Sweet Pea-and-Prosciutto Macaroni and Cheese: Omit ham. Saute 2 oz. thin prosciutto slices, cut into thin strips, in a small skillet over medium-high heat 2 minutes or until slightly browned. Stir prosciutto and 1 cup frozen sweet peas, thawed, into pasta mixture.

Pimiento Macaroni and Cheese: Substitute 1 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese for Gouda and Cheddar cheeses. Stir 1 (4-oz.) jar diced pimiento, drained, into pasta mixture.

Pepper Jack Macaroni and Cheese: Substitute 1 1/2 cups 5% reduced-fat pepper Jack cheese for Gouda and Cheddar cheeses. Omit ground red pepper, if desired. Stir 1 (5-oz.) can chopped green chiles into pasta mixture.