When you cook with good quality ingredients – especially grass-fed butter and raw milk – it gets kind of expensive. They’re treasures, and you start to understand why someone might, indeed, cry over a glass of spilt milk when it costs $8/gallon!!
Because of that reason, I’ve been terrified to try to thicken any of my sauces with something I’m unfamiliar with, like arrowroot or tapioca powder. I’ve been sticking to whole grain spelt, because the last thing I want is to waste an entire pot of sauce made with Kerrygold butter and $8 milk! I’ve been total chicken.
However…I’ve been having a LOT of problems with my sauces breaking (or curdling), and since I never used to have such a problem with it, I’m wondering if the whole grain spelt is to blame. And so I wanted to try something different. With much trepidation, therefore…I tried making a cheesy white sauce with arrowroot powder.
And…it worked! It worked just fine! The sauce was beautiful, without a weird texture or mouth feel, and – even better – didn’t break!
This recipe is something I’ve made for years and years – but this was the first time I’d tried it with arrowroot. It’s a great recipe because it uses up all that leftover ham that you loved so much when you made it, but three days later are starting to get really sick of eating cold from the fridge. And, it’s an all-in-one meal, which I always love!
So, this is my debut of my adventures into trusting arrowroot powder more often! (I think I’m going to have to go back to my macaroni and cheese recipe and make a note!)
Take a hunk of that pile of leftover ham sitting in your fridge, and dice up 1 1/2 cups of it.
While you’re at it, also dice up an onion and mince two cloves of garlic.
Start 12 oz. of a non-refined grain pasta boiling. I really like these Kamut spirals, but I also like Spelt egg noodles and also Trader Joe’s brown rice and quinoa fusilli! Use whatever works for you and isn’t made with white flour.
While your pasta cooks, measure out 2 Tbsp of arrowroot powder and 3 cups of whole milk so that it’s ready, and put 3 Tbsp of butter into a saucepan.
Melt the butter over medium heat, and dump in the onions and garlic.
Sautee until the onion is tender and translucent. Stir in the spices.
and stir it in.
Pour in all the milk and stir, breaking up the onion and incorporating the arrowroot, until it forms a smooth, thick sauce.
When the sauce is thickened, stir in 6 oz. of shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese. (A lot of times I don’t bother with grating it and just slice it up because I’m lazy like that.) Stir until the cheese is melted, and turn off the heat.
Dump in all the ham, as well as 1 cup of frozen peas and stir it together.
Then combine the drained pasta together with the sauce, and put it all into a greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until it’s nice and bubbly!
And that’s dinner. I love these one-pot meals. This is a very child friendly meal, as well. I’ve made this for families with really picky eaters, and almost without fail kids all love it. It’s a sure win!
- 12 oz. allowed pasta (I like spelt, kamut, and brown rice& quinoa)
- 1½ cup diced cooked ham
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
- 3 cups whole milk
- ¼ tsp basil
- ½ tsp mustard powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 6 oz. shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cook pasta according to the directions on the box.
- Dice the ham and put aside. Dice the onions and mince the garlic and put aside.
- Measure out the arrowroot powder and milk and set near the stove. Put the butter in a sauce pan and start to melt over medium heat.
- When the butter is melted, add the onions and garlic and sautee until the onions are tender and translucent. Stir in the spices.
- Add the arrowroot powder and stir in. Cook and stir for about a minute.
- Pour in all the milk and stir until the onions and arrowroot are incorporated. Continue to stir until the sauce is thickened.
- Stir in the cheese until it's melted, and then turn off the heat.
- Add in the diced ham, as well as the frozen peas, and stir to combine.
- Combine the cooked, drained pasta with the sauce, and then pour it all into a large greased casserole dish.
- Bake, covered, for 30 minutes or until it's nice and bubbly.