This was the first way I got my son to eat peas; now he won't eat macaroni and cheese without them. The peas and ham can be optional in this recipe or replaced with other vegetables such as sliced cooked carrots, diced bell peppers, onions or zucchini. You can also add crispy cooked bacon, cooked crumbled chorizo or sausage, or cooked chicken or turkey cubes.
Recipe by Rori Trovato; photo by Luca Trovato
|1 pound small pasta such as elbow macaroni, mini shells, penne or fusilli||1 small garlic clove, minced, about 1 teaspoon|
|3/4 cup cubed ham, about 1/4-inch cubes||1 cup grated mozzarella cheese|
|3/4 cup frozen peas||1 teaspoon kosher salt|
|2 tablespoons unsalted butter||1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper|
|2 tablespoons all purpose flour||1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese|
|1 cup milk, warmed|
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon or whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent any lumps. When all the milk is added, turn off the heat and add the garlic. Stir in the pasta, mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt if desired.
Preheat the broiler. Place the pasta mixture in individual ovenproof dishes or in 1 4-quart ovenproof dish. Top with parmesan cheese and place in the oven until the parmesan cheese is golden brown. Remove and serve while hot.
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