We ate this on our trip several times and I just had to recreate it.
I doubled the recipe so I had enough to share with friends but I will give you the single recipe. Dice 3-4 shallots. Mince 3 cloves of garlic.
Dice 2 cups of tasso ham.
You can either use a roasted chicken or cook some chicken breasts. I sprinkled mine with rotisserie seasoning and cooked them on a griddle pan. Cut them into small cubes.
Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a heavy pot.
Saute' the shallots and garlic in the butter and then add 6 tablespoons of flour. Whisk this until the floury flavor cooks off.
Add some salt and pepper to taste and 5 cups of milk. Whisk until it thickens enough to coat a spoon.
Shred a bunch of fresh basil and set aside.
Add 2 cups of grated Parmesan cheese.
Add 3 cups of shredded smoked Mozzarella cheese.
Whisk this in until it melts.
Add the diced tasso.
Add the chicken.
Mix in 1 pound of penne cooked to al dente. Mix in the basil and about 10 diced oven roasted tomatoes (recipe on my sidebar). Top with panko mixed with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until breadcrumbs turn golden.
This is some seriously good mac and cheese. A lot is happening in each bite. You can also add peas if you like but I am not pea friendly when it comes to mac and cheese.