I realize there's a lot of mac and cheese (and pasta in general) going on in this blog. That's just how it is around here, people. Actually, this recipe was born because I had a little package of Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese/Prosciutto di Parma in my fridge that had been forgotten and needed used, fast. Whenever I have random cheeses hanging out in my fridge that need used quickly, I make mac and cheese for dinner.
This recipe is similar to my original mac & cheese; I just changed some things, including the variety of cheeses and added some lightly sauteed Prosciutto. The Prosciutto got all delish and crispy and was great in the mac and cheese. (Sorry- I didn't think to measure my Prosciutto, in ounces or otherwise... 1/2 cup chopped is my best guess. Not packed).
Mac & Cheese with Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese & Prosciutto di Parma
by What a Dish!
Serves 3-4 adults as a main dish
8 ounces mini penne pasta
1/2 cup Prosciutto or Presunto, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 3/4 cups milk (I used 1%)
fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
8 ounces shredded mild cheddar cheese
4 ounces shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
Additional shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano, for topping
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Boil pasta according to package directions. Under-boil by a minute. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and sautee the Prosciutto on both sides, enough to crisp. Do not let burn. Add more oil if needed. Drain on paper towels.
3. While all that is going, make the cheese sauce: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook and stir for a minute or two, then whisk in the milk. Cook and stir for a few minutes, or until thickened. Add the seasonings. When the milk is thickened, turn the heat to very low and add both of the cheeses, gradually, allowing to melt slowly.
4. Spray a 9x9 (or slightly larger) baking dish with cooking spray; pour the drained pasta into it. Pour the cheese sauce on top and mix to coat. Sprinkle the top with a few tablespoons shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano.
5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and bubbly around the edges.
6. Serves 3-4 adults as a main dish. My fam of 3 small-ish kids and 2 adults polished the whole thing off in one sitting.