1lb of pasta cooked shy by 1-2 minutes of fully cooked ( use penne, fusilli, shell, elbow)
1lb of broccoli florets steamed until tender enough to mash
2 cups of grated cheddar cheese (divided)
2-3 Tbs of butter or margarine
1Tbs of canola oil
red chili flakes to taste
2-3 cloves of garlic grated
2-3 Tbs of all purpose flour
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup of chicken stock (or substitute starchy cooking water from pasta)
1 cup of milk (I used 2%)
1/2lb of diced ham (see note)
1 shallot or small onion sliced (optional)
On medium-low heat add butter and oil into the pan with the grated garlic and shallot. Allow to cook gently for 1-2 minutes. Then add the chili flakes and flour to make a roux. Cook the roux for another minute while stirring.
Increase the heat to medium-high and add the milk and chicken broth or pasta water. Stir roux well with the liquid until smooth. Then add 1 1/2 cups of cheese and stir until fully melted. Season with salt and pepper. Add the steamed broccoli and mash with a potato masher.
If you want to use ham, dice it up. I wanted to give my ham some caramelization so I sauteed it with a tsp of canola oil in a separate pan.
Note: I bought the ham from the deli and asked for it to be cut into three thick slices so I could dice it.
Add the cooked macaroni and ham to the broccoli cheese sauce. Mix well. Taste for seasoning and if you want to stop at the stove top method, finish with your extra cheese and serve immediately.
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