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.

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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.

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

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Making chicken broth to cook pasta in, essentially.

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Pasta in…

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…pasta out.

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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.

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Layering the cooked and cooled pasta with ham strips.

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

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Covered with cheese and ready to bake.

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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.

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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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