First, I need to tell you that this picture absolutely does not do this recipe justice. Instead of the average “macaroni and cheese in a baking dish” picture below, I need you to picture perfectly cooked elbow noodles swimming in a thick river of smoked gouda cheese topped with crispy bread crumbs and bacon. Because that’s what this is. You can almost kind of picture the pieces of bacon as people in floats gliding down a lazy river of melty cheese.
…Just go with it, okay?
The two ingredients for the Improv Challenge this month were pasta and cheese. I thought about trying to go outside of the box with this one, but in the end it came down to this recipe catching my eye and knowing that it would not only be delicious, but it would be the perfect recipe to share with you for this challenge.
- 16 oz. elbow noodles
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 1//4 cup milk
- 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
- 1 lb. smoked gouda cheese, shredded
- 1/2 lb. sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
1. Preheat the oven to 375. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add elbow noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
3. Meanwhile in a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour until no lumps remain and it is a golden color. Then slowly whisk in milk a little at a time until absorbed by the butter/flour mixture. Pour in the remaining milk and bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
4. Slowly add in the cream, then salt, Worcestershire, pepper and dry mustard. Reduce the heat to low and continue whisking for about 5 minutes.
5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the shredded gouda and sharp cheese until fully melted.
6. Stir the cooked macaroni into the cheese sauce until fully coated. Pour into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly.
7. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs with melted butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over the macaroni and cheese and then top with the crumbled bacon.
8. Bake for 30 minutes then remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Serving sizes be damned, Tom found this so good that I think he ate half of the dish himself. (Also part of the reason why I didn’t get a better picture. I was waiting for it to cool more since casseroles always photograph horribly when hot.)</