Croque Monsier Mac and Cheese

 

This was a croque monsieur in a shallow casserole dish. For those of you unfamiliar with croque monsier, it's just a fancy French name for a hot ham and cheese sandwich. 
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 pound ziti
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups coarsely grated gruyere cheese (approximately 6 ounces)
  • 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (approximately 4 ounces)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 slices white sandwich bread, roughly diced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose-flour
  • pinch of cayenne pepper 
  • the recipe calls for 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    • But I do not like it and will omit it next time. So if you do not like nutmeg, it is okay to omit this ingredient!!
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced deli ham or thinly sliced cooked ham slices 
Directions:
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ziti and cook until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl; toss with 1/4 cup milk
  • Meanwhile, combine both cheeses in a bowl. Beat 1/4 cup milk and the eggs in another bowl; fold in the bread and add half of the cheese
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over high heat. Add the garlic; cook, stirring, until just brown, 2 minutes Sprinkle in the flour, cayenne, nutmeg and 1 teaspoon Kosher salt; cook, stirring, about 2 minutes
  • Slowly add 3/4 cup water and the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk; bring to a boil, stirring until thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk to cool slightly. Whisk in the remaining cheese, then add the pasta and toss
  • Butter a shallow casserole dish. Add half of the pasta, top with some of the ham and cover with the remaining  pasta. Top with the remaining ham, then cover with the bread mixture
  • Bake until golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Let rest a few minutes before serving

 

 

 

An easy way to make this a complete meal is to add a sandwich. We happened to have an asiago cheese roll left from the other night, so I made a quick chicken, turkey and cheese sub, popped it right into the oven with the casserole for 5 minutes and voila, it was complete!

 

Prep time is a little longer than I expected, so start early. But once this casserole is in the oven, it only takes about 20 minutes - it's a quick and easy weekday meal that will be great warmed up as leftovers the day after!!

Until next time, happy eating!