Monday, November 28, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese with Ham and Kohlrabi

Way back at the end of October, I got a kohlrabi in my final CSA pickup.  It intimidated me a bit, and sat in the back of my refrigerator for a solid month before I worked up the courage to tackle it.  What the heck is kohlrabi, you ask?  Well, per Wikipedia, it is a German turnip, part of the cabbage family.  I admit that cabbage is not my favorite thing in the world, so I was still a little wary.  I was assured by the internet that the flavor was very mild when cooked.  I came across a recipe for ham and kohlrabi gratin, which seemed manageable.  Ham, kohlbrabi, creamy white sauce; I can handle this.  This morphed in my mind to macaroni and cheese with ham and kohlrabi, and that's how we got here.  This falls into the category of "throw whatever vegetable you have around into mac and cheese so you feel better about eating it." 

Macaroni and Cheese with Ham and Kohlbrabi

2 cups pasta (I used whole wheat rotini)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese (or a blend of cheddar cream cheese)
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/2 onion, minced
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 pound ham, sliced (I used deli ham)
1 kohlrabi, peeled and cut into matchsticks

Start by peeling the kohlrabi.  I used a y-shaped vegetable peeler, but a paring knife works as well.  You want to remove all of the tough, outer layer.  Cut into matchsticks or bite sized pieces. 

Bring water to a boil, and cook the kohlrabi until tender, about 5 minutes or so.  Drain.  This smells like cooking cabbage, which isn't the most appealing.  Power through. 
In the same pot, bring more water to a boil to cook pasta.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.  Whisk in flour and cook for 3 minutes. 
Gradually whisk in milk.
Stir in onion and paprika and simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened.  About 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in pasta, kohlrabi, and ham.
Pour into a prepared baking dish, top with breadcrumbs, and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. 


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