Gruyère and Emmentaler Macaroni and Cheese Casserole with Ham and Cubed Sourdough
Gruyère, named after the Swiss district of Gruyère, is a lovely, hard cow’s milk cheese known the world over for its seductively melty personality. Luscious and smooth, Gruyère is often paired with Emmentaler to make what can only be described as a superlative fondue.
With Gruyère and Emmentaler intertwined in a heady embrace, we toss Black Forest ham into the mix, making for a sultry ménage à trois of flavor and texture. Topped with chunky cubed sourdough for crunch, this casserole is more than delicious—it’s sinful.
Alternative cheeses: Any reputable Gruyère and Emmentaler will go well in this recipe. Ask your local cheesemonger. Wine pairings: Viognier, Altesse, Roussanne, Pinot Noir, dry rosé. Additional pairings for the cheese: toasted walnuts, bacon, crusty bread.
These cheeses are available pretty much everywhere, though you can use all Gruyére if you want, or all Emmentaler. You could swap out Gouda or cheddar for the Gruyère, and plain Swiss cheese or Monterey Jack for the Emmentaler. In other words, use whatever damn cheeses you like in this dish, as long as they're melty and decadent.
Note: you can find Gruyère and Emmentaler cheeses at Trader's Joe's, Whole Foods, Costco, or most natural food stores and artisan cheese shops. I've even seen them at some Fred Meyer, Safeway, Albertsons, Kroger, and Lucky's, though it will entirely depend on the ordering habits of the store's cheese buyer. If you're hoping to beat the Thanksgiving kitchen craziness, I recommend constructing this dish the day before, including everything but the cubed sourdough topping (we don't want those lusciously crunchy little cubes to get soggy, do we?), and then keeping it tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. Pull the casserole out of the fridge about an hour before you bake it to let the dish come to room temperature. Then, as soon as you pull the turkey out of the oven, add the bread cube topping to the casserole and slide it into the oven to bake while the turkey rests.
Prep Time 20minutes
Cook Time 30minutes
Total Time 50minutes
Author Stephanie Stiavetti
1/4teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
8ouncesBlack Forest hamcut into 1/2-inch cubes
2cupssourdough bread cubeseach about 1/2-inch square, crust on
Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Lightly butter an 8-by-8-inch baking dish.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain through a colander and set aside.
To prepare the mornay sauce, heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the milk starts to steam and tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan, turn off the heat. Place the butter in a medium saucepan and melt over medium flame. Add the flour and stir with a flat-edge wooden paddle just until the roux begins to take on a light brown color, scraping the bottom to prevent burning, about 3 minutes. Slowly add the milk and stir constantly until the sauce thickens enough to evenly coat the back of a spoon—a finger drawn along the back of the spoon should leave a clear swath. Remove from heat and stir in salt and pepper. Add mustard and cheese to sauce, stirring until completely melted.
Pour pasta into greased baking dish and toss with ham. Pour the cheese sauce over the top of the pasta and stir gently to incorporate into the ham and noodles. Top liberally with bread cubes, slide into the oven, and bake for 30 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.