Macaroni & Cheese W/Ham and Peppers (Kefalonia Style)

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Total Time
1hr
Prep 15 mins
Cook 45 mins

This recipe was inspired by my aunt Dalla in Greece. I made this for the first time yesterday, and it came out very very very very very very very very very very very very TASTY! IMPORTANT: Okay, here's the thing about this recipe: The Béchamel: If you like thick and rich, I would not follow the recipe below for the béchamel. Instead, I would use one whole stick of butter, add enough flour until the mixture turns into a ball, and then gradually add 4 cups of milk. This is the béchamel that I use for pastitsio and moussaka. However, I think that this is way too heavy for this recipe, although if anyone does decide to do that, please let me know how it comes out.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. In a large pot with salted water, boil the egg noodles half-way, roughly about 4 minutes. Drain and add into a large oven pan. Toss noodles in some olive oil so they won't stick.
  2. Season them with some grated pecorino-romano, whatever you like and toss. (Even eat them like that if you want -- hee hee.).
  3. In the meantime, heat a skillet with a few drops olive oil, and sauté the onion, parsley, basil,ham and peppers for a few seconds.
  4. Add them to the noodles and toss around.
  5. Cut half of your mozzarella into chunks and place them into the noodle mixture so that when it is cooked you can bite into a mozzarella pocket. Grate the rest of the mozzarella and use for the topping later.
  6. For the béchamel: In a small saucepan on low to medium heat, melt half a stick of butter (okay maybe even 3/4 of a stick).
  7. Add enough flour to make a smooth paste. I never measure the flour part because I usually just let it form into a ball, BUT you don't want that here. I'd say about 4 tablespoons of flour should be enough.
  8. Add two cups of milk and stir till it thickens. BUT WAIT- Don't let it fully thicken because you will add some more grated cheese and half of your cheddar cheese into the béchamel. It should still be a bit milky when you remove it from the heat.
  9. NOW add half of your cheddar and stir it inches.
  10. Add some more grated parmesan (or whatever you like) and stir that in too.
  11. Season the béchamel with some pepper and parika.
  12. Pour the béchamel onto the noodles and toss around until evenly coated. The sauce should be velvety.
  13. Top with grated mozzarella and cheddar, more parmesan or whatever other grated cheese you have on hand, and some dried Greek oregano. Sprinkle some breadcrumbs and a few drops of olive oil and VOILA -- my mess! (That's what I should have called this recipe).
  14. Cover with aluminum foil and cook like that for about 30 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Then remove foil and cook for another 15 minutes until crust turns golden brown, or just put under the broiler for a few minutes.