Green Eggs and Ham
250 g (8 oz) dried pasta (about 500 ml/2 cups) rigatoni, fusilli or penne
1 head broccoli
6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and halved (see tip below for kids)
250 ml (1 cup) cubed Black Forest ham (about 250 g/8 oz)
4 green onions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts)
30 ml (2 tbsp) butter
30 ml (2 tbsp) all-purpose flour
375 ml (1 1/2 cups) milk
250 ml (1 cup) shredded old cheddar cheese
2 ml (1/2 tsp) dried mustard powder
1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt
1 ml (1/4 tsp) freshly ground black pepper
125 ml (1/2 cup) shredded old cheddar cheese
30 ml (2 tbsp) minced fresh parsley (optional)
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until tender but firm, about 8 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; set aside.
Remove florets from broccoli and set aside. Using a knife, remove any hard knobs from broccoli stems. Chop stems to produce 250 ml (1 cup) of stem bits.
In boiling salted water, cook stem bits for 4 minutes; add broccoli florets and continue cooking for 3 minutes longer. Drain all broccoli and rinse with cold water. Scatter pasta, broccoli, eggs, ham and green onions evenly into six 500-ml (2-cup) gratin dishes.
Cheese Sauce: In a saucepan, heat butter over medium-low heat; add flour and cook, stirring, to make a roux (or paste), about 2 minutes.
Whisk in milk and cook, whisking continually, until thickened, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, mustard powder, salt and pepper. Continue whisking until cheese is melted, about 4 minutes.
Pour cheese sauce over mixture in gratin dishes. Sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese and parsley, if using, over gratin dishes. Place dishes on large rimmed baking sheet and bake in a 190 C (375 F) oven until heated through and cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. (Make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Increase cooking time by 10 minutes.)
Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional information per serving: 478 calories; 22 g fat; 822 mg sodium; 40 g carbohydrate; 4 g fibre; 30 g protein.
Tip for kids: To really celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, have children dye their hard-cooked eggs green. In a bowl, combine 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) water and 5 ml (1 tsp) liquid green food colouring. Dip each peeled, hard-cooked egg into the green water (the eggs should be completely covered with green water). Using a spoon, turn to coat, until egg is green, about 4 minutes.
Remove and let dry on paper towel. Cut in half and add to gratin dishes (green facing up, yolk facing down with pasta, ham and green onions).
Source: Egg Farmers of Ontario.