Macaroni and Cheese with Ham

Total Time:
35 min
20 min
15 min

6 servings

  • Salt
  • 1 pound cavatappi (hollow corkscrew shaped pasta) or other short cut pasta
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • A few grates nutmeg
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere
  • 1 cup shredded white sharp Cheddar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 pound French ham, deli sliced, finely chopped

Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil, drop in pasta. Cook pasta to just shy of al dente.

Heat sauce pot with butter over medium heat, whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute, whisk in stock then milk, allow the sauce to thicken, and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in cheeses in a figure eight motion. Stir in Dijon and ham and remove the sauce from heat. Drain pasta and combine with sauce.

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    25 Reviews
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    Awesome! Whole family had 3 helpings each. I did not add the nutmeg, was afraid it would turn the kids off. Everything else was the same. Served with peas. Double it and you will have a ton for leftovers!
    Great dish! Family loved it! Did add peas - yummy!!
    I needed a recipe to make for a funeral today, and since I had some leftover baked ham and also a package of egg noodles, used this recipe as a starting point. Like "1st time Mom at 43" I made a base with sauted onions, and also pan fried the ham pieces for additional flavor. I added 1 c. cheddar and 1 c. smoked gouda, as that's what I had in the frig. Then I mixed the white sauce with the egg noodles and added panko crumbs and parmesan cheese on top.
     I also sprinkled some parsley for color, with instructions to bake the casserole for 30 min at 350. turned out great!
    This was very delicious all around. I used panko instead of making breadcrumbs and it still came out great. I also used Jarlsberg in place of Gruyere.
    This was super! I used cream for the dairy because I figure cheese is a guilty pleasure any way.
    This was a great recipie. I used fat-free milk and low fat cheese. It was delicious. A great way to serve left over ham.
    Just so- so for me. It wasn't bad tasting at all...but..I've had a lot better mac and cheese dishes. Try Ina Garten's Mac and Cheese. Mmmmmmm..
    Good, but needed some spicing up. The gruyere and sharp cheddar cheese flavors seemed to cancel each other, leaving the dish rather bland. I added thyme, hot sauce, dehydrated onions, chives, and sea salt. Also more ham. Turned out great after I doctored it a bit.
    Yummy! And I love the fact that I could replace the cream for broth and milk. I didn't feel the least bit guilty while eating it. Only thing I did different is I used all sharp cheddar. And the nutmeg and mustard gave great flavor. Even my kids liked it!
    Wow, this was awesome and easy! I made some fun substitutions: I used bacon fat instead of butter and low fat milk to balance the naughtiness. I also used 1 cup sharp cheddar and 1 cup jalapeno jack cheese...delicious! I skipped the nutmeg. I will make this again and again!
    I love to cook and refer to recipes from the food network frequently. I very rarely follow a recipe completely I like to ad-lib usually to spice things up. I noticed this recipe got some bad reviews (as well as good) this recipe is perfect for giving you the measurements and ratios of liquid to flour to thicken-- the simple easy to forget things. This is a great recipe. I spiced it up by sautéing onions and garlic with a little fresh tyme with the butter before adding flour and using sharp cheddar only and beef stock and ham steak cubed because thats what I had in the kitchen and it turned out AWESOME! If it wasn't for my 13 month old daughter I would have added hot peppers of some sort. Use your imagination!
    I really liked this recipe. Very yummy...I subsituted gouda for the gruyere and added some peas and it was a big hit with my family. Thanks!
    Wow, great recipe! Excellent results at home when I made it. I just replaced the ham by some Spanish iberico de bellota ham, also called black hoof or pata negra for an improved and more refine taste. Definitely one recipe to keep on my cooking book.
     If you need to find jamon iberico, go to
    This mac and cheese would probably be a lot better with just cheddar. I'm sure of it. I love Asiago cheese and Parmesan cheese, and Gruyere is dry like those but has a super strong flavor. And of course it's expensive! I will probably make this again, but just replace the Gruyere with cheddar.
    I have a cheese loving family, and I'm completely out - again. Yet, I have plenty of left over ham from Easter. So, I grabbed two boxes of Kraft Mac & Cheese and followed the rest of your recipe exactly replacing all the cheese with the powdery stuff. Kraft Macaroni and cheese never tasted this good. Your sauce made it taste yummy. I cannot wait to try this with the noodles and cheese mentioned in the recipe. Twisty noodles are simply more fun then elbows, and nothing beats real cheese.
    This was not only easy, but my pickey eater had seconds!!! We have a large family so I tripled the recipe, no problem. Sure beats a boxed dinner after a 12 hour shift. Thanks for making Monday special!!!! The only change I made was to sprinkle shredded cheese on top (I had so much I put it in a roaster), put it in the oven on 350 and melted the cheese. (I E-Mailed the recipe to my niece.) We will have this again, maybe on a running late night. Thanks again!! It's great to be a hero at dinner time.
    I made this the other day & my family loved it. I've always stuck with the boxed mac & cheese & this had just a few more steps but offered a much better taste! I just added a bit more ham since my guys love ham n cheese. Another great recipe, thank you Rachael!
    Somehow the sauce really didn't match up for the pasta. I didn't care for the "mustard" taste; didn't care for the sauce although it was easy to make. It just didn't work for me.
    I agree. I have tried several recipes for mac and cheese, but this one is not a keeper for me as like you I felt the dijon mustard was overpowering and left an aftertaste and the sauce didn't work for me either. I was very disappointed. 
    This is my second time making this mac and cheese recipe. The first time I made it, I made it exactly by the recipe. It turned out great with a really good flavor. Tonight I made it a little more adlib.
      The first time I cooked it, I had to wait about 10-15 minutes for the sauce to thicken before serving it. So tonight coordinated preparing my meal by completing the mac and cheese first giving it time to thicken while I was worked on preparing the rest of the meal. It turned out perfect and so creamy. Tonight I also used different cheese. For the cheese I substituted 11/2 cups of mozzarella and 11/2 cups of sharp yellow cheese instead of the Gruyere and White Cheddar. I also used white pepper instead of black pepper along with regular elbow macaroni It was really good too.
      No matter how you make this recipe it turns out great. Truly you can't go wrong. What I enjoyed most is it is so flavorful, creamy, and so simple.
      As for the rave review's there were plenty. My family can't get enough each time I make it. They have already asked when will I make it again. This is a keeper. Most of all what I liked is that it is so do-able in making a meal after a long day at work.
     Thanks again Rachel!
     Ann in PC FL
    I really liked this. I am not sure that the ratio of cheese sauce and pasta is right though. I didn't use the full pound of pasta, and I added a touch of extra cheese. Also, I had a ham steak, not deli ham, which was good. I think you can add a lot more ham than this recpie says. Came out so good, I like this especially b/c it doesn't need to be baked in the oven, which often results in a kind of mushy overcooked blah dish. This is good!
    I'm young and I'm making this with my mom tonight. So I hope that what most of you guys said isn't true! I've never really put ham in my mac 'n' cheese before! So this is new thing for me. And by the way Holly. You're right about the noodles and gooey cheese... I love it!
    Hey Rach.....I made this last night for supper, but I had to go out and buy half and half because you always say "use whatever you put in your morning coffee" and I put French Vanilla in my coffee, therefore didn't think it would taste good in this dish! So with the half and half it was a delicious meal.
    This recipe is nothing new and exciting. Everyone is familiar with adding ham, chicken, tuna, etc. to pasta and cheese. I have tried several of Rachel's recipes lately and they have not been too great.
    This recipe is good-but who doesn't like noodles, pork and tons of gooey cheese? That being said, I swear I have seen Rachel make this exact recipe 16 times with different cheese or noodles. I have 3 almost identical preparations in my recipe box from 30 minute meals over the years. Rachel deserves tons of credit for the millions of recipes she comes up with for sure but it seems like she is running out of ideas. Lately, it appears that she is using the same ingredients and just changing one thing then re-naming the recipe. Come on Rachel, it may be time to give up one of your "5 jobs" as you constantly say on your daytime talk show so you have time to come up with some new stuff. I think you are very talented and over half of the meals I make come from some form of your recipes but you might need to stop multi-tasking so much...your magazine also featured a similar ham & cheese macaroni bake recently. Just a thought.
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