Smoked Gouda Baked Mac & Cheese

Smoked Gouda Baked Mac & Cheese

Ingredients

6 slices bacon

4 tablespoons butter

3 cloves garlic (chopped)

½ teaspoon black pepper

Salt to taste

Small pinch crushed red pepper

8 oz Fontanella cheese (shredded)

16 oz Smoke Gouda cheese (shredded)

1 pint heavy cream

1 cup milk (I use 2%)

1 package (16oz) pasta of choice ( I use spiral or elbow)

Parsley for garnishing

Directions

Begin with cutting bacon slices into ½ inch pieces. In a large pan, fry the bacon until crisp turn occasionally to cook evenly. Remove bacon pieces and reserve bacon grease in small bowl.

Using the same pan on medium heat add butter and garlic and allow butter to melt and garlic to infuse into butter. About 2 to 3 minutes. Now add cream, milk black pepper and crushed red pepper and bring to  a simmer. Simmer for a few minutes then remove from heat and set aside.

In a large pot with salted water, cook pasta until slightly underdone.

Strain reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.

In a baking dish large enough to hold pasta and cream mixture, add pasta and reserved bacon grease. Mix well.

Going back to the cream mixture. Put back on low heat. Add the fontanella and gouda cheese. Stirring constantly slowly allow cheese to melt into cream. Remove from heat.

Note: This process needs to be low and slow. Melting the cheese at too high of a temperature will separate the proteins and result in a grainy consistency. As a second option you can incorporate the cheeses into the pasta after adding the cream. Cheese will finish melting in the oven.

Once melted incorporate the cream and cheese mixture into the pasta along with the bacon. Sprinkle parsley as desired.

Cook in a 350 degree oven until bubbly and slightly browned. Serve immediately.

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