|Seen here with a delightful side of Shetland Cabbage|
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook noodles to 'al dente'.
3. While pasta is cooking, bring large saucepan to medium heat and add the butter and flour, stirring constantly untl it makes a thick paste (a 'roux') - about 1-2 minutes.
4. Add the milk and cook stirring frequently until it begins to thicken, about 3-5 minutes, then add the spices.
5. Take off of the heat and add in the puree (if using it) and the cheeses a handful at a time. Stir or whisk continuously until smooth.
6. Add in the noodles and any other peas, ham or whatnot that you may be incorporating.
7. Pour mixture into a baking dish and cover with breadcrumbs or crumbled crackers and bake 25-30 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown.*/**
* If you are hungry and/or in a hurry, you could just skip the last step and go pot-to-plate. You would miss the yummy crunchy topping though, and we all know that is the best part.
** This is also a great dish to split and cook half and freeze half at this step (or make a double batch). When you are ready, take from freezer the night before and thaw in the refridgerator, then bring to temperature on the counter for 1hr prior to cooking. You may still need to adjust cooking times based on the starting temp of the foods, but it holds really well for up to 2 months. This also makes a great gift for those friends of yours that have a new baby at home and can use some meal help!