Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese
Dieters beware!! With almost a pound of cheese and topped with bacon crumbs, Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese is hard to resist, addictive 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 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. I tend to eat to my content, filling up on melty gooey cheese, speckled with crispy crumbs. That way I feel I’m making the most of the opportunity, since tomorrow I will be back to, lets say, realistic meals! With the onset of fall it’s a fantastic dish to make ahead and pop in the oven whenever you’re ready. Get ready because casserole season is upon us. Frankly, it’s my favourite season, because I’m the one who goes for the salty and crispy as appose to the sweet and chocolatey. So I say bring on the casseroles, pastas, sauces, soups, stews and more because I’m all in for the season.
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!
Recipe Source: Compelled To Cook
- 4 ounces bacon
- 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 tbsp salted butter melted
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp course black pepper
- 1 pound macaroni
- 1/4 cup bacon fat see note
- 6 tbsp all purpose flour
- 4 cups hot milk
- 1 tsp dry mustard powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp fresh thyme finely chopped
- 1/8 tsp white pepper
- pinch cayenne
- pinch nutmeg
- 2 1/2 cups shredded smoked gouda divided
- 2 1/2 cups shredded white cheddar divided
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- Chop bacon into medium dice and cook until just starting to crisp and most of the fat has rendered. Scoop out bacon onto a paper towel lined plate, reserving bacon fat. Allow bacon to cool to room temperature before proceeding.
- In a mini food processor combine half of the bread crumbs, bacon, pepper and smoked paprika. Pulse until crumbly and bacon has broken down into bits. Add remaining bread crumbs and melted butter. Pulse until just combined. Set aside.
- Cook macaroni in 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 sauce pan, heat reserved bacon fat. Add flour and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat for 1 minute stirring often. Add 1 cup hot milk, continue to whisk until smooth and the mixture starts to bubble. Whisk in another cup of hot milk and whisk until smooth. Add remaining milk, whisk until smooth and allow to come to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. Whisk in dry mustard, salt, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, white pepper, cayenne and nutmeg.
- Toss together 1/2 cup shredded smoked gouda, 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar and 1/4 cup parmesan. Set aside.
- Add remaining 4 cups of cheese to the sauce, stir until melted. Add cooked macaroni and stir to combine. Divide equally into individual cocotte dishes or a 9"x13" pan sprayed with non stick spray. Top with remaining cheese and then bread crumbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.
Top up reserved bacon fat with butter to make 1/4 cup if there's not quite enough. Cook pasta at the same time as cooking the bacon.