Okay, I've been sitting on this for a few days because 1. I'm lazy, and 2. I kept forgetting to ask my husband for his recipe. When I finally sat down to blog about it, I asked him for the recipe and he started to prattle off crap about bechamel sauces and stuff, and suddenly I remembered that my culinary-educated husband knows a lot more about cooking than I do and I didn't even feel like dealing with it.
Being married for a little over 4 years, and together for coming up on 7, my husband and I have had plenty of time to dissect the childhoods of one another, and we've frequently discussed the home cooking we grew up with. One thing my mom used to make when I was a kid that I loved without question was something she just called "ham & noodles." We had a few random dishes that were really comforting and delicious to me, and a lot of them were "____ & noodles." My mom's ham & noodles was, if I remember correctly, basically just a bowl with cubed ham, cooked egg noodles, some butter, sauteed onions, and caraway seeds.
So, being totally awesome, my husband busted out (without even telling me in advance, which was an even BETTER surprise) this homage to my mom's dish, combined with a the hearty amazingness that is mac & cheese.
But- yeah. My husband used his fancy skills to make some fancy bechamel and then did a bunch of other crap, I don't even know, and so the result was this gooey creamy sauce and I have no idea how he did it and when he started to explain I just waved my hand in front of my face. If I were you, I'd just start with a good solid Martha Stewart recipe for mac & cheese. Then, once you have it all put together you can add the good stuff. Just lightly caramelize some onions in a pan, throw in some cubed ham (my husband actually just went to the deli, asked for ham sliced as thick as they could do it, and then chopped it up) and stir it into the mac & cheese before you bake it in the oven. Then, make a breadcrumb topping by toasting some bread and throwing it in a food processor with some whole caraway seeds, and top your noodles with it before going into the oven.
That's pretty much it. Thanks for the inspiration, Mom.