Cheesy pasta bake with ham and kale

    1 hour 25 min

    This updated version of the classic baked macaroni cheese gets extra flavour from ham, kale and smoked Gouda.

    1 person made this

    Serves: 8 

    • 450g penne pasta
    • 4 tablespoons rapeseed oil, divided
    • 30g unsalted butter
    • 3 tablespoons plain flour
    • 700ml whole milk
    • 110g grated smoked Gouda cheese
    • 110g grated Gruyere cheese
    • 120g finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
    • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 clove garlic, crushed, or more to taste
    • salt and ground black pepper to taste
    • 225g kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
    • 225g turkey ham, diced, or more to taste

    Prep:15min  ›  Cook:1hr10min  ›  Ready in:1hr25min 

    1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease a large baking dish.
    2. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil; add penne and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 11 minutes. Drain and return pasta to pan.
    3. Melt 2 tablespoons of the oil and the butter together in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk flour into hot oil-butter mixture until mixture has a paste-like consistency. Cook, whisking constantly, until flour mixture is light golden, about 5 minutes.
    4. Pour milk into flour mixture, about a third at a time, whisking thoroughly until mixture is smooth between additions. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
    5. Mix Gouda and Gruyere into milk mixture until completely melted; add Pecorino and stir until melted. Stir 1 tablespoon pepper into cheese mixture. Remove from heat.
    6. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Saute garlic, pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper in hot oil until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add kale; saute until tender, about 15 minutes.
    7. Stir cheese sauce, kale and ham into penne; mix thoroughly. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
    8. Bake in the preheated oven until sauce is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.

    Cook's notes

    You can substitute olive oil for the rapeseed oil. You can substitute regular ham for the turkey ham. You can substitute semi-skimmed milk for the whole milk.

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