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Cubano Mac and Cheese - Budget Friendly Version


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 3 tablespoons flour

  • 2 cups milk

  • 1/4 cup hot sauce

  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard

  • 2 cups Swiss cheese, grated

  • 1/2 cup pickles, chopped

  • 1/3 pound ham, chopped


Pre-heat broiler to high or oven to 400°F. 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.  Head up – pull out a mug of starchy cooking water before draining the pasta. 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 milk, reserved starchy cooking water, 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. Pour into baking dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake in oven until cheese is brown and bubbling.