Ham and broccoli Mac N’ Cheese


Ahh, one of the best comfort foods known to mankind, the righteous mac n’ cheese…creamy, hearty, and satisfying. Usually I follow a simple recipe of just the cheese mixture, with butter, flour, milk, and the cheese; however, I decided to fancy it up a little and make ham and broccoli mac n’ cheese. What could it hurt to dress up a great dish?

mac n' cheese
mac n' cheese
Ham and broccoli Mac N' Cheese
Serves 10
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Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
768 calories
71 g
91 g
38 g
37 g
17 g
335 g
1470 g
10 g
0 g
18 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 768
Calories from Fat 333
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 38g
Saturated Fat 17g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 13g
Cholesterol 91mg
Sodium 1470mg
Total Carbohydrates 71g
Dietary Fiber 6g
Sugars 10g
Protein 37g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 6 cups dry pasta shapes
  2. 3 cups broccoli
  3. 1/4 cup olive oil
  4. 1 large yellow onion, minced
  5. 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
  6. 2 tsp salt
  7. 8 garlic cloves, minced
  8. 1/3 cup chopped oregano
  9. 2 tbsp chopped thyme
  10. 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
  11. 8 ounces ham
  12. 1/4 cup butter
  13. 3 1/2 cups milk
  14. 1/4 cup unbleached flour
  15. 4 cups grated aged white cheddar
  16. 4 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  17. 1 cup grated Parmesan
  18. 1/2 cup pine nuts
  1. Cook pasta in boiling, salted water until al dente. Strain and toss with a light coating of olive oil. Set aside.
  2. Fill a bowl with ice water. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and blanch, cooking for about 30 seconds. Immediately drain the water and submerge broccoli in the ice bath until cool. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a small skillet. Saute onion and mushrooms for 5 minute or until softened. Add half of the minced garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and saute 30 seconds. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in half of the chopped herbs. Set aside.
  4. Chop the ham into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
  5. Prepare the cheese sauce. Gently heat the milk and keep it warm. Set a saucepan over medium heat and melt the butter. Sprinkle in flour and whisk constantly. Gradually add the warm milk and 1 tsp salt, stirring constantly. Heat until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Add the sauteed onion/herb mix, grated cheese and stir until the cheese melts. Season to taste.
  6. Meanwhile, the topping. Combine the breadcrumbs with the remaining garlic, herbs, Parmesan, pine nuts, 1/2 tsp salt, plenty of cracked pepper and the remaining 3 tbsp olive oil.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. To assemble, combine the noodles and cheese sauce in a large bowl and mix well. Pour into a greased 8"x12" baking dish. Scatter the topping over the entire surface, working some of it into the noodles. Bake uncovered until golden and bubbly, about 15 minutes. Serve hot.
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**Helpful tips and common mistakes

Since the people I cook for are serious meat-eaters, I pumped up this mac n’ cheese with ham, mushrooms, and broccoli. If you want to add additional ingredients, make sure to cook any raw produce. The broccoli was blanched in salted hot water and shocked in ice water immediately after. The mushrooms were quartered , sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Since the ham was already cooked, I just cut up the meat into a medium dice; however, if you would like to add bacon, cut it up and cook it on the stove top. 
mac n' cheese prep
When making the cheese sauce, the roux is referring to the butter and flour mixture. It is a thickener and is commonly used for sauces and soups. Depending on how long you cook the roux, the color will darken from golden to brown to almost black, giving your sauce or stock a deeper hue. In this case, we don’t need to achieve a dark color, so only cook the roux until golden. Make sure to stir occasionally since it will splatter; the consistency will resemble wet sand.
mac n' cheese
The combination of the milk with the roux is called a bechamel and is one of the 5 Mother sauces. It is commonly used as a base for another sauce; in this instance, it is the base for the cheese sauce! Although white cheddar would have been delicious, I stuck with a blend of sharp and mild cheddar. I had to add a good amount of salt and pepper to the bechamel since it was on the bland side but still slightly under-seasoned the mix. Remember that you’re adding ham which is quite salty already so no need to over-salt!
mac n' cheese
When preparing the breadcrumbs, keep in mind that one day old bread is always better. I used an Italian loaf; one loaf yields approximately 4 cups of breadcrumbs. Cut up the bread and if you have a food processor, process until you get small chunks of bread. Mix it together with the other ingredients and you have your topping.
mac n' cheese
Mix together the ham, broccoli and mushrooms with the pasta and cheese sauce. Top with the breadcrumbs and bake until golden brown on top.
mac n' cheese
People were lining up quickly to get a taste of this amazing ham and broccoli mac n’ cheese! And many came back for seconds, which is always a good sign. The breadcrumbs really made this dish different from other basic mac n’ cheeses; you get a crunch from the topping while the inside is still creamy. For more variations, try different cheeses such as fontina and mozzarella or Asiago and Monterey Jack. Creamy, but not too heavy with the added vegetables, comforting, and overall delicious!
 mac n' cheese
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  1. Aha!  So it’s a Baked Mac N’ Cheese. Looks so dry.  ︶︹︺

    • It’s just the top that may look dry because of the breadcrumbs but once you dig in it’s nice and gooey. If you think it will be too try when preparing the meal just add more of the cheese sauce.

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