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)