⁂ George Ho

Mac and Cheese with Ham and Mushrooms




  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Add the macaroni to an empty pot and add enough cold water to cover the macaroni by 1 inch. Add salt until the water tastes like seawater. Cook until macaroni is just shy of al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain the pasta, run under cold water to stop the cooking, and set aside.
  2. In a skillet, melt two tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until they have given up their liquid and are brown, about 15 minutes. Add the onion and continue cooking, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ham and continue cooking, stirring, for another minute. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt 8 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the flour, whisking until smooth. Lower the heat. Add the evaporated milk in ½-cup portions, whisking until smooth before adding the next portion. Add the salt, pepper, mustard, cayenne and cheeses and whisk until smooth.
  4. Transfer the macaroni, mushroom/onion/ham mixture and cheese sauce to a casserole dish, add the cubes of mozzarella and mix well. Top with breadcrumbs, if using. Bake for 20 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving with scallions.

Cooking Notes

Moist, creamy cheesesPhiladelphia cream cheese, camembert, chèvre, cottage cheese, mascarpone
Dry, flavorful cheesesCheddar, gouda, parmesan, gruyère, comté, Pecorino Romano
Stretchy cheesesMozzarella, provolone
Melty cheesesAmerican