Baked Mac And Cheese With Ham is one of the most comforting meals you can have.
Who doesn’t like mac and cheese? I don’t know anyone saying no to this dish that we all grew up with. The addition of ham makes this casserole hearty and perfect for chilly nights.
This is a basic recipe for baked mac and cheese where ham enhances the taste of this humble dish and makes it glorious. Not that mac and cheese is not a glorious dish by default, but ham brings an extra layer of flavor to it.
A few words about Mac And Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is a classic dish that almost every country, familiar with pasta, makes it. The traditional way to make this dish is by baking it in the oven. This is what we are going to do today.
Believe it or not, pasta and cheese casseroles have appeared in European cookbooks since the 14th century. The recipes were very simple. The freshly made dough was sliced into pieces, boiled, then drained. The cooked pasta was mixed with cheese and butter in layers and then baked.
The more modern recipes from the 1700s were made with Bechamel sauce and a Cheddar and Parmesan cheese mixture.
A fun trivia for you: The famous British Victorian cookbook Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management has a recipe for macaroni and cheese where the pasta is boiled for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours!!! I can only imagine how the pasta looked like after cooking it for such a long time! Yikes!
Why you should make this Mac And Cheese With Ham recipe
- Comforting– A perfect dish for chilly nights and feeding a crowd of hungry people.
- Leftover ham– This dish is a great opportunity to use leftover ham, bacon or even sausages.
- Easy ingredients– It uses easy to find ingredients that most people have in their pantries.
- Adapt– For example, you can use gluten free pasta instead of regular one.
- Add vegetables– Peas, broccoli, spinach, or even leftover roasted veggies, like peppers, onions, sweet potatoes etc.
What goes into this dish
Pasta – I used the classic elbow pasta, which most Americans are familiar with. However, any pasta could go into this dish. Don’t use spaghetti, but any other short-cut pasta is great. Think shells, rotini, farfalle, penne, etc.
Cheese – The choice of cheese in this recipe is cheddar, but not the one that comes in a bag. I used freshly shredded cheese. Fresh is always better. If cheddar is not your thing, you have so many other options: Gruyere, Gouda simple or smoked, Havarti, Jarlsberg, Mozzarella, Swiss, Monterey, Colby Jack, or a mixture of your favorites.
Ham – Any ham you like is good. Mac and cheese dish is supposed to be an economical way to put food on the table, so adding ham to it should be a breeze. You can use either one of these: Hickory-smoked ham, Honey or Maple cured ham, Black Forest ham, Prosciutto, Canadian Bacon, Bacon, etc.
Dairy – Milk and sour cream. I prefer full fat for both. Low-fat sour cream has starches and other ingredients that have nothing to do with mac and cheese. You cannot make good food using bad ingredients.
Spices – Mustard powder and onion powder are my secret ingredients here. If you never used them in mac and cheese, you missed a lot. These two magic ingredients are what the subtle flavor of this dish is all about.
Eggs– are used as a binding ingredient for milk, sour cream, pasta, and cheese. I grew up with mac and cheese baked in the oven that had eggs in it. In my humble opinion, it also adds protein to the dish, making it more nutritious. It is also delicious.
How to make Mac And Cheese With Ham
As always, start with the oven. Preheat it to 350F/180C.
- Boil the pasta– for half the time the package directions tell you to do. Drain and set it aside.
- Grate the cheese– in a large bowl, reserve 1 cup for topping the dish. Add the pasta and mix with the cheese.
- Add the ham.
- Mix and set aside.
5. Mix dry ingredients– Separately, mix flour, onion powder, mustard powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
6. Whisk in the eggs, sour cream, and milk– until you obtain a smooth mixture.
7. Assemble the dish– Place the pasta in a baking dish and pour over the mixture of milk, sour cream, and eggs. Stir to combine. Top with reserved grated cheese.
8. Bake– for 30 minutes until bubbly and a crust is formed. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Are leftovers good?
Like all pasta, this dish becomes less creamy the longer it sits out. However, the leftovers are absolutely divine. Try to eat it while hot and fresh.
What baking dish do you need?
You need a 9×13 inches baking dish.
Can I freeze the Mac And Cheese With Ham?
Yes, it is good in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How do I reheat the dish?
You can reheat it in the microwave or the oven.
Baked Mac And Cheese With Ham
- Mixing Bowls
- Baking Dish – 9×13 inches
- 16 ounces Elbow pasta
- 3 cups Cheddar Cheese sharp
- 2 cups Ham diced
- 2 tablespoons All-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons Mustard powder
- 2 tablespoons Onion powder
- 2 Eggs large
- ⅔ cup Sour Cream
- 2 cups Milk whole
- ¾ teaspoon Salt
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the elbow pasta to it. Cook the pasta for half the time of package directions. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
- Into a large bowl, grate the cheddar cheese, reserving 1 cup for topping. Add the pasta and the diced ham to it.
- Separately, in a medium bowl, mix flour, onion powder, mustard powder, and salt. Whisk in the eggs, sour cream, and milk until you obtain a smooth mixture.
- Place the pasta in a baking dish and pour over the mixture of milk, sour cream, and eggs. Stir to combine. Top with reserved grated cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly, and a crust is formed. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.