Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese

with Bacon Crumbs

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Dieters beware!!  With an abundant amount of  cheese and topped with bacon crumbs, Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese is hard to resist, indulgent and no friend of the scale.  But life isn’t always about calories, it’s about balance.  Once in awhile the scale needs to tip towards delicious indulgence because life just needs to be lived.

One certainly can’t eat cheese laden dishes like this one everyday, but on occasion it’s a welcome treat. Especially on cooler days when all you want to do is stay indoors and eat warm comfort food.  Casserole and soup season is definitely one of my favourites and this super cheesy and creamy mac & cheese fits in perfectly.  What sets this mac & cheese apart from the rest is the smoky, crunchy topping.  It adds just the right amount of crunch and texture to an otherwise soft dish. The added smokiness and salt from the bacon is an additional boost to the mild smoked Gouda.

I love this recipe because of the obscene amount of cheese, the hint of smokiness and the crunchy bacon crumbs!  It’s everything I love in one warm gooey pot. Enjoy!

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese is creamy, loaded with cheese and topped with crispy bacon crumbs.
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Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese

Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Bacon Crumbs

  • 3 ounces bacon, diced
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs, divided
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp salted butter, melted

Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese

  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 3 tbsp bacon fat/butter
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cup 2% milk, warmed
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 5 ounces mild smoked Gouda, grated
  • 4 ounces white cheddar, grated
  • 1/2 ounce Parmesan, grated
  • 1-2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

Bacon Crumbs

  • Cook diced bacon until just starting to crisp and most of the fat has rendered. Scoop out bacon onto a paper towel-lined plate, reserving the bacon fat. Allow the bacon to cool slightly.
  • In a mini food processor combine half of the bread crumbs, cooked bacon, pepper and cayenne pepper. Pulse until crumbly and the bacon has broken down into smaller bits. Add the remaining bread crumbs and melted butter. Pulse until just combined. Set aside.

Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese

  • While the bacon is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook macaroni in boiling, well-salted water until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350℉. In a large saucepan, heat reserved bacon fat and or butter for a total of 3 tbsp. Add flour and stir to combine. Cook over low heat for 1 minute, stirring often. Add 1 cup of hot milk and continue to whisk until smooth and the mixture starts to bubble. Whisk in another cup of hot milk and until smooth. Add the remaining milk, whisk until smooth and allow to come to a full simmer. Whisk in thyme, dry mustard, salt, cayenne, white pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Toss together all three grated cheeses and reserve about half a cup.
  • Add the remaining grated cheese to the sauce, and stir until melted over low heat if needed to allow the cheese to melt. Add the cooked macaroni and stir to combine. Divide equally into individual cocotte dishes or a suitable casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese and then bacon crumbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and golden on the top.

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