Croque Monsieur Mac & Cheese: It's like if the world's best sandwich and the most cheesy pasta had a baby

Croque Monsieur Mac & Cheese

Croque Monsieur Mac & Cheese

When I made this little number for my hubs, he told me that I’m an evil genius who must be stopped.

He then voraciously dug into his third serving.

A super cheesy French sandwich with all my favourite flavours + everyone’s favourite pasta dish = all of the carbs and cheese I could ever want on my plate.

Also, two things:

  1. That photo up there is a double recipe. My friends devoured it during our latest game night and there was still enough left over for lunch the next day! In my house, the only thing better than mac & cheese is bonus mac & cheese.

  2. If you are more of a stovetop mac & cheese person, omit the casserole dish and topping and stir the ham into the sauce with the noodles. It’ll be so good.

Croque Monsieur Mac and Cheese

Serves 4

225g dry rigatoni
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk, warmed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon Herbes de Provence
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ cup (30g) grated Pecorino cheese
2 cups (120g) grated Gruyere cheese*
225g sliced deli ham, roughly chopped

For the topping:
1 egg
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 slices white bread, roughly torn into nickel-sized pieces
½ cup (30g) grated Gruyere cheese*
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 425ºF and lightly grease a 9-inch square casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray or room temperature butter.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil then add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and leave it in the colander until ready to use.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add in the garlic and cook for about 1 minute then sprinkle in the flour. Whisk the flour in and cook, whisking constantly, for about 1 to 2 minutes to toast the roux. While continuing to whisk, slowly pour in the warm milk, salt, pepper, Herbes de Provence, and nutmeg and bring it all to a light boil. Cook, whisking frequently, until thick, about 4 to 5 minutes.

When the sauce is thick, turn the heat down to low and whisk in the mustard, grated Pecorino cheese, and grated Gruyere. Switch to a heatproof spatula or a wooden spoon and carefully stir in the cooked rigatoni making sure that every noodle is well coated. Pour half of the mixture into your prepared casserole dish, scatter on half of the ham, then layer on the remaining pasta and ham and set aside.

To make the topping, whisk the egg and 2 tablespoons of milk in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the torn bread and ½ cup of grated Gruyere.

Top the casserole with this bread mixture and pop it in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Allow the mac and cheese to rest for a few minutes before digging in!

*Emmental, Jarlsberg, or regular Swiss cheese will also work well in this recipe - I just love the classic, nutty flavour of Gruyere best!