Gruyere and Ham Mac and Cheese Pot Pies

1 pound elbow pasta

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 cups half and half or whole milk

3 cups shredded gruyere cheese, plus 1 1/2 cups for topping

3 cups diced cooked ham

4 sheets puff pastry, room temperature (2 boxes)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and lightly spray eight 2 cup ramekins with non stick cooking spray.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Run under cool water to stop cooking.

3. Melt butter in large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper. Cook and whisk for 1 minute. Slowly drizzle in half and half whisking constantly. Whisk until thickened and hot, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in 3 cups gruyere cheese and cooked pasta.

4. Heat cooked cubed ham pieces in a large skillet to brown slightly. Add to mac and cheese, stir, taste and season accordingly with additional salt and pepper. Divide mac between prepared ramekins. Top each ramekin with additional gruyere cheese then a round piece of pastry that has been cut to fit your ramekin. Bake for about 30 minutes, until pastry is golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Best served immediately.

Makes 8 servings

Note: This dish can be made without the puff pastry and without baking if desired. Once ham is added to the mac and cheese you can just serve after this step