Friday, February 26, 2010

Straw and Cheese (Spaghetti Series # 3)

Snowed in with about a foot outside my door, I was upset this late afternoon knowing I was missing out on making macaroni and cheese with my sister tonight - we had planned to make it together at her house for my family. Instead, I am home alone and craving the dish badly. I went to my kitchen and realized I had all the ingredients for my own macaroni and cheese. Not exactly the same, because I miss their company tonight, but at least I get my cheesy noodle fix!

I was grateful to have the time to leisurely browse recipes. I borrowed a little bit from here, a tad from there, and what I came up with was one incredible dish! Of course normally I would use elbows or fusilli, but this IS A Twist of Spaghetti, fellow foodies, and we need to stay true to our roots!

I am sipped a glass of Shiraz with this meal, and it certainly paired well! Cheers!

Straw and Cheese

3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons flour
1 cup fat free half and half
1 cup shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon prepared mustard (I used Jack Daniel's Old No. 7)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 slices of deli ham, sliced into julienne strips
1/2 pound cooked spaghetti, cooked 2 minutes less than directed
1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking dish
- Generously salt a pasta pot and bring to a boil; cook spaghetti as directed above
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add flour, whisking for 5 minutes until you get a light caramel-colored roux
- Slowly add in milk and whisk for another 2 minutes
- Stir in cheese, mustard, paprika, cayenne, and salt.
- Drain spaghetti and reserve 1 tablespoon of the pasta water and add this to the sauce mixture
- Add pasta to the cheese mixture and gently fold in ham
- Melt remaining tablespoon of butter in a bowl in the microwave. Add the breadcrumbs and Romano cheese and mix well.
- Pour pasta mixture into the baking dish; place topping over pasta
- Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly
- Place oven on low broil for 2 minutes until topping is nicely crisp (a light brown color)


  1. Aimee, this looks really delicious. Do you think the type of mustard will make a big difference in the final result?

  2. Mary, not at all. This one had a kick...use dijon if you wish!

  3. This looks like really yummy comfort food, thanks for the recipe.

  4. What a fabulous creation with spaghetti! I have all the ingredients and would love to make it!

  5. I LOVE your spaghetti twists - this looks so so good. Hope the snow clears away soon, what a miserable nightmare for y'all...SNOWTORIOUS B.I.G....

  6. Absolutely delish combi...oh the mustardy creaminess heightens the cheesy smooth delightful melt in ur mouth texture am sure....

  7. Super way to get your macaroni and cheese fix! I love that you added mustard and cayenne. And ham, to get your protein! That would make me feel virtuous. Sort of.

  8. I've never seen mac and cheese spaghetti but what DOESN'T taste good with spaghetti. Or with cheese for that matter...looks amazing! I love how you spiced this mac and cheese up.

  9. Joanne - thanks! I actually forgot to mention I did the ultimate Italian cardinal sin and broke the spaghetti in half so it was easier to eat! ;)

  10. Now that's a mighty interesting recipe. I like that you used spaghetti, makes it more of like a cheesy spaghetti pie casserole thing. Looks great!

  11. Spring will be here soon and the snow will be gone-YEAH!!! Your spaghetti twist on macaroni and cheese is a great one. A definite comfort food on these cold dreary days.

  12. I have all the ingredients for this in my fridge. I can pretty well say that we'll be having this keeper sometime this week! Oh my does this every look GOOD!!! Thank yo soo much for sharing!

  13. That sounds SO delish! Thanks for sharing!


  14. Total comfort food - I made mac and cheese on our Friday snow day too - delish!