Smoky Mac and Cheese

Sometimes I feel bad that most of our meals revolve around my favorite dishes more often than my husbands. Luckily my hubby is very flexible about food and we have very similar tastes. However there are a few dishes where our tastes diverge. Macaroni and cheese is one of them. It’s one of my husband’s childhood comfort foods and he still loves it. I can always tell when he doesn’t feel well or when he’s had a bad day because mac and cheese somehow gets worked into our conversations. I usually act like I don’t hear it and change the subject but this week I wanted to do something special for him. We just go back from a wonderfully relaxing vacation in the Smoky Mountains.  Unfortunately, the time in the mountains did a number on his allergies and he came back home feeling pretty crappy. What a perfect time for a cheesy gooey bowl of mac and cheese.

This is what I would call grown up mac and cheese. No Velveeta here. I used a Tomme de Nena from Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese which is a creamy semi firm cheese. You could use a Fontina, Gruyere, or a cheddar.  To counter the sharpness of the Tomme and to give it a creamy smokiness, I added a smoked Gouda. It would be just as good with a smoked Gruyere or a smoked cheddar. Please don’t use pre shredded cheese in the bag. I know it’s a pain to shred cheese but the difference in taste and texture is worth the work. Ham can be substitute for bacon. I popped this in the oven for a little while to firm it up a little but it would be just as good straight from the stove top.

Smoky Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups macaroni – cooked according to direction for al dente.
  • 1 large shallot diced
  • 2 cups lowfat milk – warmed
  • 2 cups Gruyere cheese – freshly shredded
  • 1 cup smoked gouda cheese – freshly shredded
  • 3 slices of bacon – cooked and crumbled
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/2 white pepper
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 375.
  2. Melt butter in sauce pan over medium.
  3. Add shallots and saute until translucent.
  4. Sprinkle flour over shallots and butter. Cook mixture 3 to 4 minutes stirring frequently.
  5. Add warmed milk 1 cup at a time whisking between additions.
  6. Add shredded cheese 1 cup at a time and whisk until melted.
  7. Add mustard and pepper.
  8. Fold in macaroni and crumbled bacon.
  9. Fold mixture into a 2 quart casserole dish. Bake for 15 minutes uncovered.

Number of servings (yield): 8

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