Food Writing & Food Photography from a self-proclaimed Foodie

Not too long ago, I made my first ever mac & cheese from scratch.  Prior to this experience, I had always and only made mac & cheese from a box labeled Kraft.  Well, after making my own from scratch – twice now – I will NEVER make or eat mac & cheese from a box again.  It’s just too easy to make it myself, and it tastes oh so much better!  The first time I made it, I watched a chef on Food Network make a fancy three-cheese version, and I tweaked it to our tastes and made it with Smoked Gouda, Gruyere, and Sea Salt Cheddar.  It was OMG SO GOOD.  This afternoon I decided to make it again, but didn’t want to spend as much on the cheese as I had before, so off to Market Street I went.  With some help and samplings from the amazing cheese goddess, I was soon on my way home with ingredients in hand.  She showed me a French version, somewhat, of Gruyere cheese (which is Swiss) – the difference was amazing:  softer, creamier, milder, and WAY less expensive.  I was sold, and you will be, too – this dish was amazing!

Ingredients:

  • 1 block of Smoked Gouda cheese, grated (yields 1-2 cups)
  • 1 block of French Comte’ cheese, grated (yields 1-2 cups)
  • 2 cups milk (I used Almond Milk, Vanilla unsweetened – helps with my allergies)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • Sea Salt, about 1 tsp.
  • White Pepper, about 1/2 tsp.
  • Heart Healthy Pasta, the shape of your choice (I like the kind that looks like corkscrews)
  • Panko Breadcrumbs
  • Bacon Bits

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In saucepan, cook pasta until water is boiling and pasta is tender (add 1 tsp. of oil to prevent sticking)
  • In a large pot, melt butter and mix with flour
  • Pour all of the milk in; cook until just about to boil, stirring occasionally
  • Mix in grated cheese and stir until all cheeses are melted and blended well with the milk sauce; add sea salt and white pepper
  • Mix in cooked pasta with cheese sauce; stir together well
  • Pour cheesy pasta into casserole dish; top with Panko Breadcrumbs and Bacon Bits
  • Cook in oven until top is crunchy and cheese sauce is bubbling slightly
  • Serve and enjoy!
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