▢ 1 pound medium shells
▢ ⅓ cup butter
▢ ⅓ cup flour
▢ 1 ¾ cups milk
▢ 1 cup light cream 10-12% M.F.
▢ ½ teaspoon dijon
▢ 1 teaspoon onion powder
▢ ¼ teaspoon thyme
▢ salt & pepper to taste
▢ 3 cups sharp cheddar divided
▢ 1 cup gruyere cheese
▢ 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
▢ 2 cups diced ham
▢ 2 tablespoons butter melted
▢ ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
▢ 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix together topping ingredients, set aside.
Cook shells al dente according to package directions. Drain well.
Meanwhile, melt butter, flour and seasonings in a saucepan. Allow to cook 1 minute.
Slowly add in cream and milk while whisking after each addition. The mixture will seem thick at first but will smooth out with each addition.
Once all of the cream/milk is added, whisk while bringing to a boil over medium heat. Allow to boil 1 minute.
Remove from heat and stir in 2 ½ cups cheddar, gruyere cheese, and parmesan until smooth.
Mix cheese sauce with cooked pasta and ham and place in a 9×13 pan. Add topping and remaining ½ cup of cheese.
Bake 22-26 minutes or until heated through and topping is browned. Cool 5 minutes before serving.