Save Macaroni with Ham and Cheese

Save Macaroni with Ham and Cheese

Mythical, legendary and regressive “Macaroni, Ham, Cheese” for the better, but often for the worse! But this time, we say it loud and clear, stop mistreating this dish that sees the greens, not the gratin! This Saturday the cry of the soul and taste buds: “Save MJF!” with Carlo De Pascal at the microphone “Bientôt à Table!”

Every culture has important dishes and sometimes you don’t know why a dish becomes so important to a country.

“We are in Belgium,” explains Carlo, “we really like macaroni and ham and cheese, and we are already more or less the only ones who use this terminology.”

The Italians will really eat.” pasta al forno “in different ways, the French eat ham shells, the Americans eat macaroni and cheese. “We are macaroni and ham and cheese, and this belongs only to us, period!”

And to outbid: “Look at recipes for shells in the style of “France that wins”, shells, cream, put ham at random, then au gratin à la va-comme-je-t-pousse, hay of it all.” Resolutely Save the Macaroni and Ham and Cheese!

A small digression before the dive. “If you really want to make shells, I suggest you cook them like a risotto, whipping up the broth, replacing the ham with white pudding, adding pan-seared morels, and finishing with a parmesan butter sauce, it can do it.”

Back to our pasta, ohu rather our pasta!

In Belgian we say: About pasta, even cut pasta! “It’s funny,” Carlo explains, “because in Italian pasta it’s more of a general name that can refer to many different types of pasta, and again it depends on the place, but often it can be pasta, short or long, or even long, broken, cut pasta … “

Admittedly, in Belgium we know what we mean by pasta, more specifically sliced ​​pasta: “Thing Belgian industrialists often do, we’re going to be safe, nevertheless they’ve made a lot of progress between before and now, but still tends to remain very little al dente, how much to know, even if MJF au gratin does not require the same al dente as spaghetti alle vongole.”

The problem with pasta in Belgium is that it has become too everyday, too expected, it has become a pseudo-essential item on the poolside dining menu. Set up the scene: “Pasta, soft, overcooked, cheesy, most often industrial, emmental, and to the detriment of ham, square, ugly and tasteless, not to mention béchamel seasoned with float and walnuts. sachet”. the greedy is crushed.

Let’s take matters into our own hands!

cut pasta, tortiglioni or better yet, old maids’ dough, zitiWhere candleand we’re going to break them down into four.

“We will cook them,” Carlo specifies, “and drink al dente to break our teeth without rinsing them. But before we make a béchamel, real, with a lot of butter, flour, well-roasted, whole milk and béarnaise, he will finish Mornay with a good Comte, or Fontina Val d’Aoste, or Gruyère Swiss. And a pinch of nutmeg, and lots of pepper.”

And the ham? It is on the bone, but without the bone, but in large slices, which will eventually turn out to be thick strips. Okay, and then there’s the history of the ratio. “When you mix pasta and morne, the pasta should float, completely at ease. Thus, in the oven, even if some of the sauce evaporates, enough of it remains to keep the pasta bound by the sauce substrate even after being placed in the oven.

Then, pressing 160, “if it’s too hot,” insists my friend Carlo, “there’s a stupid, unstructured crust on top that comes off like ice on ponds when it’s minus one, it sucks.”

In short, hot, very hot, golden but not burnt with properly peppered béchamel sauce and dead pig ham for something, looks so much better!

Recipe of dish


  • 400 g short pasta
  • 100 g butter
  • 100g flour
  • 75 ml whole milk
  • 30 ml cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 250 g Conte
  • 150 bone-in cooked ham in one thick slice
  • Salt
  • Ground pepper
  • Nutmeg


  1. Grate cheese.
  2. Cut the ham into strips.
  3. Prepare bechamel cheese, so Mornay:
  4. Melt butter in a large skillet, then add flour. Mix well and cook the roux for at least 4-5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Lightly salt the roux.
  5. The roux is ready when it smells a little bit of biscuits.
  6. Add milk, then stir with a whisk and when the mixture begins to set, add the cream. Season: salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  7. Remove from heat, add egg yolks, then grated cheese (you can leave a little to put on a casserole, but this is not necessary). Mix well.
  8. Preheat oven to 160°.
  9. Boil pasta in at least 4 liters of 4 g/l salted water for 5 minutes and drain without rinsing.
  10. Pour the pasta into a large bowl, mix it with the ham, then add almost all of the morne and mix well.
  11. Pour everything into a baking dish, the pasta should “float” a little in the morne.
  12. Pour the remaining Mornay over the pasta. You can also add shredded cheese, but it’s not necessary, this sauce does “gratenage”!
  13. Bake for 40 minutes at 160°, no more, it is possible to turn on the grill function at 200° for the last 5 minutes, but this is not necessary (the goal is such a moderate temperature that the crust does not separate too much from the gratin).
  14. Serve hot.