1 cup Jambon de Paris
For the topping:
1 small garlic clove, mashed into a paste or pressed (optional)
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
2 cups coarse, fresh breadcrumbs, lightly toasted
For the Macaroni:
4 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3-1/2 cups whole milk
5 oz. finely grated sharp Cheddar
5 oz. finely grated Havarti
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 lb. elbow macaroni
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 3- to 4-quart saucepan. Whisk in the flour and continue to whisk over low heat for 3 minutes. Slowly add the milk, while whisking constantly. Whisk until the sauce is smooth and has the consistency of heavy cream, about 6 minutes. Raise the heat to medium and bring the sauce to a simmer, whisking constantly. Lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, whisking occasionally, for 10 minutes.Turn off the heat and gently whisk in the Cheddar, Havarti, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Season to taste with salt. Keep warm.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain well and return to the pot. Add the cheese sauce, peas, and ham to the pasta and gently stir to combine. Transfer the pasta mixture to a 9×13-inch baking dish and evenly scatter the reserved breadcrumbs on top. Bake at 350°F until the top is golden, about 15 minutes.
Recipe credits: Tasha DeSerio