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Playing Cubano Mac 'n' Cheese


  • 1 pound whole wheat elbow pasta
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 3 cups Swiss or Gruyere cheese, shredded, plus additional for topping
  • 1/2 cup pickles, chopped
  • 1 pound thinly sliced ham, chopped (from the deli counter)
  • A handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped


Serves: 4-6 servings




Preheat broiler to high or oven to 400F.



Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring it up to a boil to cook the pasta. Once at a boil, add some salt and the pasta and cook it just shy of al dente.



While the pasta is cooking, heat a medium-size skillet over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter melts, add the flour and cook about a minute. Whisk in stock, milk, hot sauce and yellow mustard, and bring up to a bubble. Stir in the cheese in a figure-eight motion, reserving enough to sprinkle on the top of the casserole, until it's all melted. Fold in the pickles and ham, and season with salt and pepper to taste.



When the pasta is done, drain it well and combine with sauce. Transfer the mac and cheese to 4 individual ceramic ramekins and top each one with a sprinkle of shredded cheese.



Place the ramekins onto a baking sheet and toss them under the broiler to melt and brown the cheese on top, 2-3 minutes.



Serve the Cubano Mac & Cheese with a simple salad alongside and enjoy.