Frenchie Mac (adapted from the Mac + Cheese Cookbook)
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1-1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
1 cup cubed ham
3 scallions, white and light green parts minced
1 T minced fresh tarragon
1/2 cup panko
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Put on a big pot of water to boil. When the water boils, add some salt along with the dried pasta, and cook until the pasta is al dente. Drain and keep ready until the cheese sauce is done. (You can cook the pasta while you prepare the sauce to save time)
3. Heat the milk in the microwave until it is hot but not boiling.
4. Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter in the skillet, and then add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown, about 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk, using a silicone-coated whisk to protect the coating on the pan. When the milk is incorporated and the mixture is smooth, cook for another 30 seconds or so. The sauce should be thick and just bubbling. Remove from the heat.
5. Stir in salt, grated cheese, cubed ham, scallions, and tarragon. When everything is incorporated, add the pasta and sitr to combine everything.
6. Scrape the pasta into a baking dish (I used a 9x13 brownie pan). Sprinkle with the panko. Pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the panko is lightly browned.