Smoky Mac & Cheese

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I always hesitate before using the term “mac and cheese,” since technically “mac” stands for “macaroni and cheese,” so the “and cheese” addition makes the phrase redundant. But in the end, who really cares — and anyway, calling the dish just “mac” seems weird.

My mom recently pulled this recipe from People magazine, and we finally gave it a whirl last night. Although I really enjoyed it, I didn’t see it as the traditional mac and cheese we all grew up with, but a sort of smoky rendition of the staple. I’ll definitely have to add a good regular mac and cheese recipe, but until then, enjoy this cheesy goodness.

Mac & Cheese (From J.J. Johnson of The Cecil in Harlem)

Ingredients (makes approx. 8 to 10 servings):

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. garganelli or penne rigate pasta
  • 4 cups whipping cream
  • 18 oz. white cheddar cheese, grated (or 4 1/2 cups)
  • 16 oz. smoked Gouda cheese, grated (or 4 cups)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook the noodles according the package instructions, adding the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt in once the water boils. Drain the noodles.

Add cream to a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat (but don’t let it boil).

IMG_7083Stir in cheddar, gouda, and rosemary to the cream, whisking often, over medium-low heat. Continue to cook until it’s melted and smooth, about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and whisk in some salt and pepper.

Add the pasta and cheese to a large bowl and stir together. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 3 quart baking dish.

IMG_7085Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let it stand about 10 minutes before eating.

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One response to “Smoky Mac & Cheese

  1. It was good but had that smokey flavor from the gouda cheese. Better than the slow cooker recipe we tried a few weeks ago!

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