Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese

It's been too long my friends and I am very, very sorry. It's been a long past couple of weeks. Preparing for a week-long conference in Chicago, putting on said week-long conference in Chicago, a weekend of camping in the rain. Whew! Like I said, it's been a long past couple of weeks.

My mom passed down a wonderful, classic homemade macaroni and cheese recipe that I've been making for years. This time I decided I wanted to change it up a bit. I had some leftover smoked Gouda from when I made Portobello Mushroom Burgers and Easy White Pizza (that cheese was the gift that kept on giving) and I love smoked Gouda so much that I thought it would be delicious in mac and cheese in place of normal sharp cheddar. The Gouda makes it a much thicker consistency than cheddar and the smoky flavor makes for an irresistible taste sensation. And of course, all good homemade macaroni and cheese recipes need to be topped with buttered toasted bread crumbs! 

This is one of those recipes that I usually half because I don't want to shouldn't eat macaroni and cheese for days on end, so the recipe below is made for two to three people. 

I added spinach to mine, but it's entirely optional. I've also put broccoli in and that is also delicious. That's the beauty of a simple recipe: you can customize it to your liking with just a few tweaks of ingredients. Bon appetite!

Smoked Gouda Macaroni and Cheese with Spinach

½  a 1 pound box of elbows
2 tablespoons of butter
¼ cup minced onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cups milk
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon in pepper
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded smoked Gouda cheese
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup bread crumbs
2 cups baby spinach

Cook elbows as package directs; drain. Preheat oven to 350. In medium saucepan, melt butter. Saute onion until soft. Stir in flour. Gradually stir in milk. Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat, until sauce thickens. Stir in salt and pepper. Add cheeses; stir until cheeses melt. Combine cheese sauce, elbows and spinach. Spoon into greased 1-quart baking dish. Melt last 2 tablespoons of butter in a small sauce pan. Add breadcrumbs. Cook over low heat until breadcrumbs lightly brown. Top pasta and cheese sauce with toasted bread crumbs. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake 20 minutes covered. Remove foil and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.

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