Smoked Gouda cheese sauce and crispy bacon — it’s such a gouda combination! Did you see what I did there? Okay, enough of the cheesy puns. Oops, I did it again. Now you’re singing Britney Spears aren’t you? Enough funny business, this is a monster mac-n-cheese dish that often serves as our main course. It’s also a great side dish for Thanksgiving.
Let’s talk about the gouda cheese. You definitely want a smoked variety and the more smokey the better. I used to buy a gouda at Walmart that had a beautiful smoked rind on it but they no longer carry that one. The gouda I used in this recipe is from Aldi and is hickory-smoked but for me was not a strong enough smokey flavor. So basically, I’m suggesting you search for a good quality, smokey gouda for this recipe.
Many times in my recipes, you will see me refer to lardons of bacon. This simply means to cut the bacon in strips (or lardons), before cooking. Doing this allows you to get those strips of bacon nice and crispy before adding to a recipe. Here’s an example:
I have one more tip for this recipe. When making your roux for the cheese sauce, exercise patience. Be sure to keep the butter and flour mixture moving around the pan to prevent burning. Do this until the mixture turns a light golden brown. Then pour in the milk and whisk vigorously until the liquid becomes smooth with no lumps. These are important steps for a smooth cheese sauce.
Gouda Bacon Mac-n-Cheese
- 16 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 2 1/4 cups skim milk
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire
- 2 cups smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
- 1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 cup bacon, cut into lardons and cooked
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Prepare macaroni according to package directions. Set aside.
- Cut bacon into lardons and cook until crisp. Drain grease and set bacon aside.
- In large pot, melt butter over medium high heat.
- Add flour to butter and continue to stir until well mixed. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is golden brown in color.
- Add milk to the pot and whisk vigorously until ingredients are combined and there are no more lumps.
- Bring mixture to a boil and then whisk in the heavy cream.
- Add in salt, pepper, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.
- Reduce heat to low and continue to stir for about 5 minutes.
- Add Gouda cheese and stir until melted.
- In a 9×13 dish, add macaroni, bacon and cheese mixture.
- In a small bowl, mix melted butter and Panko bread crumbs.
- Sprinkle crumbs over macaroni.
- Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes.