Let’s see. This is the fourth mac and cheese post on my blog. However, this one is totally inspired by my grandsons, the child gourmets.
As I mentioned in my previous post about minestrone soup, my daughter, Tricia is a chef. When she was in school, she would bring home food from class for her husband and two little boys. Those two boys now have very refined palates, especially Gavin (5).
I’ll give you an example. One night a few months ago we had a sleep-over with the boys. Gavin had said that he wanted hotdogs for dinner.
Great! No problem! Easy peasy dinner.
I got everything ready and we all sat down to eat. After a few minutes I noticed that Gavin hadn’t taken a single bite. “What’s the matter, Gavin?” I asked. “You aren’t eating anything.”
A very long discussion ensued, the outcome of which was this: I had bought ‘regular’ hotdogs and Gavin was used to eating ‘the big hotdogs like at Costco’. “My mom always gives us those big hotdogs with the big buns……………… And she puts pesto on them.”
The next day when my daughter came to pick up the boys, I told her about the hotdog incident. Tricia hesitated and then told me more about Gavin’s ‘hotdog’ preferences. Not only does Gavin eat pesto on his polish dogs, he also eats a dill mustard on them.
Later in the week, Tricia brought the boys back over for a visit. Gavin was hungry and wanted something to eat. I got a little anxious because I only had plain types of kid food in the house. You know, stuff like peanut butter and boxed mac and cheese. Regular kid food.
In a team effort, John and I came up with a game plan. I remembered that I had some sliced turkey from the deli and John remembered some white truffle butter that we had bought from a schwanky deli downtown. Score! Gavin loved his sandwich.
Later that same day, John and I went out shopping. We bought pesto, polish dogs, big hotdog buns, dill mustard and a few other very non-kid foods. John texted Tricia to let her know that the house was now stocked with Gavin approved food items. No sir, we were not ever going to be without gourmet kid food again.
As I was writing yesterday’s post, off the cuff I mentioned the ingredients for a “gourmet” mac and cheese. I wasn’t really thinking about the ingredients I had just thrown together in my head and typed into the post. It suddenly dawned on me that those ingredients would make a truly outrageous mac and cheese and I HAD to make it right away.
Sheesh! What a creation! It is ridiculously delicious; so full of flavor that your mind can barely comprehend what your mouth is trying to tell it. If you would like portion control (you’ll need it, trust me), then bake the mac and cheese in small, individual ramekins. I made this mac and cheese in several different sized dishes, 1/2-cup ramekins, 1 cup ramekins, and a 2-quart casserole dish. It worked equally well in all of them.
In the ingredient list below, as you will see, I did not cut any corners on fats. Hence, the need for portion control. Wait a minute. I lied. I did use half and half instead of heavy cream. So there, I saved on some calories.
Although the ingredients are fancy, the preparation could not be more simple. The longest part of the whole preparation time is bringing the water for the macaroni noodles to a boil.Print
Smoked Gouda, Bacon, and White Truffle Butter Mac and Cheese
Recipe by Terri @ that’s some good cookin’
- 8 ounces (weight) dry macaroni
- 1/2 pound thick sliced apple wood smoked bacon
- 2 cups half and half
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon white truffle butter
- 8 ounces (weight) smoked gouda, grated
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- sea salt, as needed for cooking macaroni
- Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Lightly butter baking dish or dishes. I have tested the recipe in the following: a 2-quart casserole dish; 1 cup ramekin; 1/2 cup ramekins (this recipe will make enough for 10 1/2-cup ramekins). Set aside.
- Line a large, shallow baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the bacon side-by-side on the baking pan. Bake in oven until crispy, about 20 minutes for thick-cut bacon. Remove from oven and place on several layers of paper towels to drain. (Do not turn off oven.) Chop bacon into smallish pieces and set aside.
- Pour 8 cups of water into a 3-quart saucepot. Salt water according to macaroni package directions. Bring the salted water to a boil and carefully add the macaroni to the water. Cook only until macaroni is at a slightly firm al dente. I used Barilla brand macaroni and set my timer for seven minutes at the time I added the macaroni to the water. Depending on the quality of the macaroni, cooking times may vary. The point is this: DO NOT over-cook. It is necessary for the macaroni to be a bit undercooked because it is going to absorb additional liquid from the sauce.
- Drain cooked macaroni in a strainer/colander and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking process. Drain well, then set aside while the sauce is prepared.
- In a 3-quart saucepot, add the half and half. (I used the same saucepot in which the macaroni was cooked.) Whisk in the 2 tablespoons flour until smooth. Add the white truffle butter and the smoked paprika to the half and half mixture. Heat over medium or medium-low heat until hot and beginning to thicken, whisking constantly.
- When the sauce is hot, stir in the cheese. Continue to stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Turn off heat. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the chopped bacon (more or less, depending on personal preference); set aside. Stir the remaining bacon into the sauce. Taste and add salt, if needed.
- Fold the macaroni and the sauce together. Pour macaroni into chosen buttered bakeware. To help catch potential spills, place baking dish or dishes on a baking pan. Top with reserved bacon. Bake for approximately 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of the container, until hot and bubbly.
This recipe does not use a traditional roux, although flour is used to thicken the sauce. The flour will simply be mixed into the half and half. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy.