Macaroni and Cheese with Prosciutto

There’s not much doubt about what constitutes comfort. According to Wikipedia, comfort food is usually traditional, has a nostalgic or sentimental appeal or simply provides an easy-to-eat, easy-to-digest meal rich in calories, nutrients or both. I think most of us can agree with that.

But because not all people have the same tastes, comfort food can include things such as grilled cheese, tuna casserole, meatloaf, mashed potatoes and beef stroganoff, for example. (For more, see www.grandforksherald.com/event/article/id/227453/.)

Another food that ranks high according to a reader’s poll conducted by the website about com is macaroni and cheese. I like a good mac ‘n’ cheese recipe, so if a new one comes to my attention, there’s a good chance we might have it for dinner in the near future.

That’s the case with following recipe, courtesy of Noelle Carter of the Los Angeles Times. It’s adapted from a recipe she obtained from Palazzio in Santa Barbara, Calif. The recipe for this classic comfort food includes no less than three kinds of cheese as well as some prosciutto “for a little extra love.”

Macaroni and Cheese with Prosciutto
2 pounds penne pasta
2 cups heavy cream
4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
4 cups shredded smoked mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
3 ounces prosciutto, diced
5 eggs, lightly beaten
Heat the oven to 350 degrees and bring a large pot of water to boil.
Add the pasta to the water and cook to al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes, or according to the package instructions. Drain.
While the pasta is cooking, in a large bowl combine the heavy cream with 3 cups each of the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, the Gorgonzola cheese, the prosciutto and the eggs.
After draining the pasta, turn it into a large bowl and toss with the cheese mixture to coat evenly. Spread the pasta into a 13-by-9-inch greased baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses over the pasta to top.
Cover the baking dish tightly with a greased layer of foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the topping is lightly browned, an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and cool slightly before serving.
Yield: Serves 12.
Approximate nutritional analysis per servings: 725 calories, 37 grams protein, 60 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 38 grams fat; (22 grams saturated), 199 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams sugar, 1,037 milligrams sodium.

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