12-11: Italian Macaroni and Cheese

Before you make up your mind on 12-11: Italian Macaroni & Cheese, I must let you know that it is not what you are expecting. If you are envisioning just another creamy cheesy béchamel-based sauce, this is NOT that.

12-11 Italian Macaroni and Cheese
This has ham in it and NO cheese in the sauce. All the cheese is on top. The noodles are suspended in a cream and egg base similar to a quiche filling. Jump behind the cut and see what this wacky mac & cheese is all about.

12-11 Italian Macaroni and Cheese1
Like I said above, this is essentially a Quiche Lorraine with noodles in it and cheese on top. If that floats your boat, continue on.

Ingredients. I used shredded Cheddar Jack cheese and elbow noodles, and broth base instead of bouillon cubes.

Making chicken broth to cook pasta in, essentially.

Pasta in…

…pasta out.

Rinsing the pasta in cold water to stop the cooking process/wash off any residual starches. After the pasta is cooled, toss it with a bit of canola or vegetable oil (enough to thinly coat all pasta) to keep it from sticking, especially if it’s not all being used at once.

Layering the cooked and cooled pasta with ham strips.

Pouring the egg & half-and-half mixture over the noodles and ham.

Covered with cheese and ready to bake.

After it was baked. I had some extra noodles and ham, so I made a smaller lactose-free half-and-half version for home/quality assurance. Here’s what that one looked like–the other larger one made with real half-and-half went with 2-17: Spicy Potato Salad to a recent get-together.

A blurry close-up of the inside consistency–more crumbly & egg-like than creamy and saucy. Tastes good, but not a traditional mac & cheese like most people expect.

Grade: A-

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