I was sitting in one of my favorite restaurants looking over the menu when I noticed a new item:
Gouda Mac and Cheese…$14
It sounded interesting, but fourteen dollars? No Way. I can make it myself for a tenth of that price.
Gouda is amenable to being in Mac and Cheese. It has a high moisture content and is very meltable. It is not however a strong cheese. If you want your Mac and Cheese to be more ‘cheesy’ then consider replacing half the gouda with 4oz of sharp cheddar. There is also a lot of variation between brands of smokes gouda. Some are stronger and smokier than others. I used Dietz and Watson from my local Safeway. If this dish is going to become a regular part or your repertoire you may want to experiment with different brands to find one you really like.
The recipe is the recipe for basic Mac and Cheese. It could be used with almost any meltable cheese (cheddar, fontina, asiago, gruyere, etc) and can be dressed up to your liking (bacon, anyone?). While the recipe calls for baking it for 20 minutes, some people like their Mac and Cheese a little ‘soupier’ or a little drier. Bake it for less time to get a soupier version, and a little longer for a drier version.
- 1 pound small elbow macaroni
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 pound smoked gouda cheese, grated
- Pinch sweet smoked spanish paprika (optional)
- parsley (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
Preheat the oven to 375F.Fill a large saucepan with about 6 quarts of water and a teaspoon of salt. Bring it to a boil. When the water is boiling add the macaroni. Cook, stirring occasionally until the macaroni feels like it is almost done. (It will finish cooking while baking).
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once it has melted add the flour and whisk continuously. You are looking for it to change from while color or a slightly off-white. Add a little of the milk and whisk thoroughly to combine. Once the flour-butter mixture (a roux) is thoroughly mixed into the milk, start slowly adding the rest of the milk. Continue whisking. Add the pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Continue whisking. When this white sauce starts to thicken slightly and coat the back of a spoon remove it from the heat and stir in the cheese. Continue stirring until the cheese is completely melted.
The macaroni should be done about now. Drain it and combine it with the sauce.
Grease a 9×12 (or similar) baking dish. (I use a non-stick spray) Pour the macaroni-sauce mixture into the baking disk. Bake it for about 20 minutes.
I chose to garnish each serving with a pinch of paprika and a sprig of parsley for color.
Servers: 4 – 6