375 g dried penne pasta
50 g unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp plain flour
450 ml milk
150 ml double cream
150 g mature cheddar or Gruyère, grated
200 g smoked ham, torn into shreds
handful chives, finely chopped
500 g cooked beetroot, cut into small cubes
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Cook pasta according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
Put the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat add the onion and cook for 10-15 minutes until getting soft. Add the garlic and fry for a minute before stirring through the flour. Then pour in milk and cream. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly until thickened. Simmer for 2-3 minutes to cook the flour. Turn off the heat and stir through half the cheese, ham and chives. Season as necessary.
Stir through the cooked pasta and beetroot and spoon into a baking dish. Scatter over the rest of the cheese and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling. Could be served with a fresh green salad or in a bowl in front of the telly works too!