Who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese?
I normally use medium size shells and a ton of extra white sharp cheddar for macaroni and cheese. I don’t do anything special with it — just boil the pasta and layer it with cheese in a casserole dish and bake it for a half hour or so.
It’s the way my mama does it.
Today I wanted to make French Onion Soup for lunch, so I went to the Publix and asked the nice deli lady for a big block of Gruyere. I didn’t realize until I was making the soup that said nice deli lady gave me Hickory Smoked Gruyere.
What in the world was I going to do with 2 pounds of Hickory Smoked Gruyere?
What else do you do with a ton of cheese? Raid your pantry and see what kind of past you have. Then create some cheesy deliciousness to make your life complete!
I had Penne Rigate, so I went with that. I also had some Smoked Gouda on hand, so he joined the party.
I consulted my good friend, Alton Brown over at the Food Network and he recommended I try this.
Well, that really only happened in my
crazy head active imagination.
I also used some smoked paprika.
I’m starting to see a theme here.
Maybe I should have just called this Smoked Mac ‘n Cheese?
Smoke Some Cheese?
Maybe I was
smoking the cheese getting a little excited.
I do have to say that I was
horrified somewhat skeptical about the egg (see recipe below) and the mustard (which I have never used but have in my cabinet), but trust me.
Actually, trust Alton Brown.
Dude knows food science.
Smoked Gruyere and Smoked Gouda Macaroni and Cheese
Adapted from Alton Brown
1 pound pasta (I used Penne Rigate)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon ground mustard
3 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
1 large egg
1 1/2 pounds of Smoked Gruyere, grated
1/2 pound of Smoked Gouda, grated
1 – 2 teaspoons salt
1/4 – 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
Preheat oven to 350.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, generously salt and add pasta. Cook to package directions (depending on what kind you are using).
In a second pot, melt butter over low to medium heat, add flour and mustard and whisk constantly for about 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn it, but cook it long enough to get rid of the raw flour taste — usually 5 – 10 minutes. It should turn a dark brown color. Keep the whisk going to get rid of all the lumps.
Add milk, bay leaf and paprika. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes and remove the bay leaf.
Beat the egg with a fork. Take a 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture and slowly add it to the egg while constantly whisking to temper the egg — you don’t want to scramble the sucker! Add the egg/milk mixture back to the milk in the pot.
Add the all but about a cup of the cheese to the milk mixture and stir until melted. Add salt and pepper — use more of less depending what you like.
Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to completely coat each noodle. (I did not use quite the whole pound of pasta, but that’s because I have a very serious pasta to cheese ratio requirement).
Transfer the whole thing to a baking dish coated with cooking spray or butter. Top with the remaining cup or so of cheese.
Bake for 30-35 minutes and let rest for 5 minutes after removing from the oven.