Black Skillet Ham Mac & Cheese Casserole
YIELD: 20 servings (two 10” black cast iron skillets)
For the roux:
4 oz. margarine
4 oz. flour
1.25 lbs. ham or turkey ham, medium dice
2.5 lbs. mild or sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (reserve 1 cup for topping)
8 oz. Parmesan cheese, shredded (reserve 1 cup for topping)
2 lbs. cavatappi pasta, cooked al dente and cooled
1 qt. half and half
2 yellow onions (save the hull)
½ tsp. nutmeg
2 tsps. white pepper
2 Tbsps. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsps. hot sauce
1. For the roux: Mix margarine and flour on medium heat and whisk until smooth for 6 to 8 minutes. Roux should look golden brown and have a nutty aroma. Be careful not to burn. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Boil pasta in salted water until al dente (about 4 to 5 minutes). Drain and shock with cold water and set aside.
3. In a large pot, place ham and pour 1 cup of hot water over it. Boil gently for 5 minutes. Remove ham. Keep liquid in the pot, bringing it to a boil. Add heavy cream, nutmeg and onion hull. Bring to boil and remove onion hull. Add roux in small increments, whisking in. Sauce should become thick. Add ½ of both cheeses, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Add ham and pasta and bring to medium heat. Taste for flavor and add salt to taste.
4. Spray a large black cast iron skillet (recipe will use two skillets) and spray with nonstick spray until well coated. Take a handful of the cheeses (about 3 oz.), and place at the bottom of the skillet. Add mac and cheese mixture and spread on top of cheese layer. Repeat layers again and top with remaining cheese. Sprinkle paprika on top.
5. Bake in 350°F oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes and serve.
Photo and recipe: Donnell Jones-Craven, Emory University Hospital