This macaroni and cheese with diced ham and extra vegetables is a perfect one dish meal.
I love finding out that a dish that I previously thought was a relatively recent invention is actually much older than I thought. On the basis that things that last, last for a reason if a dish has been around for centuries, there’s probably a good reason for it, isn’t there? Macaroni and cheese is one such dish, with origins in the thirteenth century. And rightly so, in my opinion. Easy and quick to make, richly and gooey with cheese, it’s perfect comfort food.
Macaroni cheese is a classic that can be jazzed up which way and another. Mine contains a few optional portions of extra veg too, and some crispy fried Princes Diced Ham. With oozy gooey cheese it is perfect for cold winter evenings. Make a day in advance and keep in the fridge until ready to reheat. Here, we’ve added an extra layer of flavour to the dish with some cubes of Princes canned ham. We’ve also used a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses; the soft mozzarella goes wonderfully gooey and stringy when cooked. Canned meat is a great staple to have in the store cupboard, with its long shelf life there are no fears about having to use it up. And these small cubes are very easy to drop into any suitable recipe.
Adding the butternut squash to the sauce is a great way to add extra vegetables, and it also has the added advantage of giving the dish a delightful, rich golden colour. This is a great one-dish meal, but we tend to serve it with a salad or steamed green vegetables as an accompaniment, to give another texture.
Macaroni cheese with ham
- 150 g macaroni
- 20 g butter
- 2 dsp plain flour
- 500 ml skimmed milk
- 200 g roasted butternut squash
- 2 dsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp French mustard ((optional))
- 200 g can Princes diced ham ((drained and rinsed))
- 100 g strongly flavoured hard cheese, such as cheddar or parmesan (finely grated)
- 100 g mozzarella (cut into small pieces)
- Cook the macaroni as per the packet instructions in a large pan of salted water.
- Blitz the butternut squash with 75ml of the milk with a stick blender.
- Melt the butter in a large pan, add the flour and stir well. Cook for a few minutes; this is important to stop the sauce tasting of flour.
- Turn the heat right down, then add the remainder of the milk to the flour and butter, a splash at a time, stirring well all the time.
- Add the butternut squash puree, soy sauce and mustard. Stir in half the hard cheese and half the mozzarella.
- Drain the can of Princes Diced Ham, and fry briefly until the cubes are pale brown on a couple of sides. Stir into the sauce. Add the macaroni to the sauce and mix well.
- Transfer to the serving dishes, dot the top with the remaining mozzarella and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
- Put under a hot grill until golden and the sauce is bubbling.
- Serve with green vegetables or salad.
You can buy ready chopped frozen squash from all the major supermarkets, or roast your own and freeze any leftovers.
A quick and easy way to add some vegetables to the dish is to replace a third of the macaroni with chopped cauliflower.
Macaroni and cheese with ham recipe commissioned by Princes. All opinions our own.