While leafing through the recipes I've saved over the years, I came across this one. I had actually saved it for a recipe on the other side of the torn out page, but since I had everything I needed for this one, plus I had planned on some kind of pasta for dinner, it was perfect.
Although the original recipe doesn't call for it, I stirred in some mustard powder with the nutmeg. I love the stuff!
This dish is actually based on a French ham and cheese sandwich.
1/2 lb pasta (I used ziti)
2 cups milk, divided (I used 1/2 cup half and half in place of some of the milk)
6 oz grated gruyere cheese(I used Swiss)
1 cup grated parmesan blend cheese
3 slices bread, torn into pieces
2 T unsalted butter
1/2 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 T flour
pinch cayenne pepper
1/8 t freshly grated nutmeg
salt to taste
1 cup diced ham
Preheat the oven to 425°. Spray a shallow casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook about 6 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl; toss with 1/4 cup milk. Set aside.
Meanwhile, combine both cheeses in a small bowl. Beat 1/4 cup milk and the eggs in another small bowl; fold in the bread and add half of the cheese. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic; cooking til onion just softens, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour, cayenne, nutmeg and about 3/4 t salt; cook, whisking, about 2 minutes. Slowly add 3/4 cup water and the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk; bring to a boil, whisking til thickened. Remove mixture from heat and whisk to cool slightly. Whisk in the remaining cheese, a small handful at a time. Add mixture to the pasta mixture and toss.
Add half of the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish, sprinkle with half of the ham and cover with the remaining pasta. Top with the remaining ham, then cover with the bread mixture.
Bake til golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Let rest a few minutes before serving.