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Mel's Classic Macaroni & Cheese

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked al dente
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) butter
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups ham, diced small
  • 1 large onion, diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups whole milk, cold
  • 3 cups heavy cream,cold
  • 3 cups sharp white Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3 whole bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Details

Servings 6

Preparation

Step 1

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Make a roux over medium heat by melting the butter and whisking in the flour. When well mixed, cook roux for 5 minutes, being careful not to brown it.

3. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the diced ham. Cook until golden brown. Remove h am and set aside.

4. In same pot, add onions and garlic and cook covered until onions are translucent.

5. Add half of the roux and stir well. Add the milk and cream. Whisk the mixture until lumps disappear.

6. Add bay leaves, nutmeg, cloves, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently.

7. Simmer for 10 minutes. If the mixture does not start to thicken, add a bit more roux. Mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.

8. When mixture is thick, it is ready.

9. While you're waiting; prepare the macaroni al dente.

10. In a large mixing bowl, combine the macaroni, ham, cheese and the cream sauce. Mix well.

11. Pour mixture into large baking dish. Remove bay leaves. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs, then drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil.

12. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

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