It’s getting to be that time of year where comfort food is a necessity. Mac and cheese is at the top of the list in our house. I find a lot of mac and cheese to be super bland so when I make it I have one non-negotiable: quality cheese. It doesn’t matter so much where it comes from or how much it costs, just that it’s robust and flavorful. A good cheese will stand up to the roux, compliment the pasta, and not shy into the background leaving you with an over-floured, gooey paste for “sauce.” So please, for the love of all cheese, try this bold gouda and cheddar recipe.
Kim’s Gouda and Cheddar Mac & Cheese
2 lbs. of your favorite pasta, I just discovered Casarecce so I used that
1 big yellow onion
3 cups milk
1.5 lb. cheese (I used 3/4 mild cheddar and 1/4 gouda)
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. EVOO
4 tbsp. flour
3 tbsp. ground black pepper
2 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. red pepper flake
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 pieces bacon, for garnish (optional)
Finely chop the onion and shallots. Saute over medium heat with the butter and EVOO. The goal is for the veggies the become translucent, not caramelized.
Once the veggies are translucent sprinkle the flour over the top and stir in thoroughly. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully, don’t let this burn!
Next pour in the milk and stir to combine. Dissolving the flour into the milk is the end goal here. Keep the roux over medium heat and bring to a slight boil until it slowly thickens. This process takes 7-10 minutes. Stir only occasionally, letting the flour and milk do their job.
As the roux thickens add in the spices: garlic powder, chili powder, pepper, red pepper flake, and salt.
At this point go ahead and cook your pasta.
When your roux is thick and creamy, start adding in your cheese(s).
Stir often as all the cheese melts. The mixture will thicken even more.
Toss your cooked pasta into your cheese sauce and stir thoroughly. You want an even distribution of cheese on each piece of pasta.
Your mac is ready to eat right now. However, I like to bake mine for a little bit to allow additional time for the pasta to soak up the sauce. Transfer your mac and cheese into a glass baking dish and bake for 20-30 minutes on 350 degrees.
This is totally optional but we topped our mac & cheese with some crispy black forest bacon. Just saying.