I love gourmet baked macaroni and cheese. My love for it would border along the lines of an addiction if I didn’t have such a difficult time digesting it. For the love of all things food and that are sacred to humanity, I will spare you the frightening details of what happens to me if I consume too much cheese. For these reasons, I minimize my exposure. I find that alot of the gourmet macaroni and cheese recipes contain at least 29 different cheeses! You’ll find these much more common during the holidays. Geesh, my body trying to process that much cheese and I’m sure I’d find myself in the hospital. I’m sure it’s delicious but a cheese dish that contains more than two should come with a warning label.
I experimented with several ingredients to give mac and cheese a regal flare without altering its traditional roots. I am not about to get dragged for writing about putting pimento beans in the mac and cheese calling it gourmet. I wanted it to be reminiscent of the family old school recipe with a modern twist without compromising me and my guests’ digestive system. I’ve decided to only use two different cheeses and one of which has to be smoked. You may choose any you like but I like a blend of Colby Jack and Hickory Smoked Cheddar. The smoked cheese is the secret ingredient that gives this baked cheese pasta dish its elegance. The use of smoked cheddar has been growing in popularity due to wanting to add an elevated spin on an old favorite without adding something outrageous for shock value and attention.
I encourage you to try it out and let me know what you think.
3 cups of Elbow Macaroni
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of flour
1 cup of half and half
31/2 cups of shredded Colby Jack cheese
2 cups of Smoked Cheddar
11/2 cups of whole milk
2 eggs slightly beaten
Preheat oven 350 degrees
Butter casserole dish and set aside
Bring seasoned water to a boil first using a large pot. Add a generous amount of salt, pepper, and garlic powder to season. Then add noodles.
Cook pasta until aldente for about 5-7 minutes.
Remove pasta from heat and drain. Afterwards pour pasta into prepared pan.
In a large saucepan melt butter over low heat, melt butter.
Add flour and stir until combined and golden in color.
Add half and half and stir until smooth and blended.
Add 1 cup of Colby jack cheese and stir until sauce is smooth and creamy.
Pour cheese sauce over the macaroni making sure all noodles are covered in the sauce.
In a large bowl add milk, 2 cups of Colby Jack Cheese and 1 cup of Smoked Cheddar
Add salt and pepper to taste. Some brands of smoked cheese impart a saltier taste than others so make sure seasonings are to your liking in this step.
Add eggs and blend well.
Pour egg and milk mixture over the macaroni ensuring things are not just sitting on the top.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese across the top. If you would like more smoked flavor, make sure you add more smoked cheese across the top.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.