I think I’ve mentioned before that I like to use local foods when possible. I don’t make a hard and fast rule about it, but I think it’s nice to support local farms and businesses given the chance. So when a local publication, Edible Finger Lakes, featured a mac and cheese recipe using a regional cheese, I had to try it. If you can find a smoked Gouda with bacon from a creamery local to you, go ahead and use it, but ohmygoodness Yancey’s Fancy has all kinds of great cheeses, you should check them out.
Gouda Bacon Mac and Cheese (from Edible Finger Lakes)
- 1 1/2 cups small pasta like orzo, stars, or alphabet letters (I used twisty corn pasta)
- 1/4 pound bacon slices, cut in half length-wise – you may use more if you want crunch in your mac
- 1/4 cup flour (or gluten-free equivalent)
- Salt and pepper as desired
- 2 cups milk (I used skim)
- 2 cups shredded smoked Gouda – I used Yancey’s Fancy Smoked Gouda with Bacon
- 1/2 cup shredded Romano cheese
Bring a pot of water to boil and add the pasta, cooking until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a large high-sided skillet, cook bacon over medium heat to desired crunchiness, draining on a paper towel and chopping roughly. Allow the reserved fat (roughly 1/4 cup) to cool slightly, then whisk in flour and desired salt and pepper until smooth. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly until incorporated. Gradually add the shredded cheese until melted and smooth.
Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and stir until the sauce evenly coats the pasta. If using additional bacon within the mac, add just before serving with a quick stir to incorporate. Divide into bowls and top with remaining bacon crumbles.