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!
- 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
- 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!