Recipe: Baked mac ‘n’ cheese in ham cups

Pictured here with baby back ribs and garlic sauteed spinach.

Ingredients

– 1.5 cups elbow macaroni (uncooked)
– 2 tablespoons butter
– 2 tablespoons flour
– 1 and 1/4 cup milk
– 2.5 cups cheddar cheese, grated (You can throw some gruyere in there if you’re feeling fancy)
– 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
– 1 swirl (maybe a little less than a tablespoon) dijon mustard
– 1 teaspoon paprika
– 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
– 200g ham, sliced thin

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 C
2. Prepare macaroni according to box directions, drain and set aside
3. Melt butter over low heat, stir in flour.
4. Add milk, stirring often until thick.
5. Stir in most of the cheese — maybe just under 2 cups — leaving behind just enough to cover the tops later.
6. Stir in paprika and dijon mustard — the secrets to excellent mac ‘n’ cheese, IMO.
7. Add macaroni to the cheese sauce.
8. Lightly grease a muffin tin (or ramekins) with cooking spray and line with two slices of ham, being careful not to tear them:

Just making four here. Recipe should yield six.

9. Carefully spoon the mac ‘n’ cheese into the cups:

10. Top with cheese, Panko breadcrumbs and paprika:

11. Bake for about 20 minutes, checking frequently for darkened edges around the 15-20 minute mark.

12. When they’re ready, let them cool for five or 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped chives if you want ’em looking pretty.

I made these and served them with baby back ribs and garlic sauteed spinach.

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