Smoky Penne and Cheese with Ham and Kale
1 pound penne pasta
¼ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
4 ounces shredded smoked Gouda cheese
4 ounces shredded Gruyere cheese
1 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic
or more to taste
salt and ground black pepper to taste
8 ounces kale
stemmed and coarsely chopped
8 ounces turkey ham
or more to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×12-inch baking dish.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil; add penne and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 11 minutes. Drain and return pasta to pot.
Melt 2 tablespoons oil and butter together in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk flour into hot oil-butter mixture until mixture has a paste-like consistency. Cook, whisking constantly, until flour mixture is light golden, about 5 minutes.
Pour milk into flour mixture, 1 cup at a time, whisking thoroughly until mixture is smooth between additions. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
Mix Gouda cheese and Gruyere cheese into milk mixture until completely melted; add Pecorino Romano cheese and stir until melted. Stir 1 tablespoon pepper into cheese mixture. Remove from heat.
Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute garlic, pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper in hot oil until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add kale; saute until tender, about 15 minutes.
Stir cheese sauce, kale, and turkey ham into penne; mix thoroughly. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
Bake in the preheated oven until sauce is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.
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