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Smoked Gouda Mac with Broccoli, Bacon, and Tomatoes!

To honor our 50th "like" on Facebook, I decided to create a super special dinner recipe that I have been meaning to make for some time now. For years, my husband and I have been trying to figure out how restaurants acheive a creamy cheese sauce that isn't grainy. We experimented with flour vs. corn starch, high end cheeses vs. the cheap-o brands, and had little success creating the perfect texture. Oh sure, the sauce tasted incredible, but it wasn't quite right. 

Then, we discovered a sneaky little secret to that perfectly creamy, melt-in-your-mouth cheese sauce and I'm almost ashamed to admit it, but here it goes: Velveeta. Not so much that it takes over the flavor of the dish, but enough that it melds the cheese and half-and-half together. 

After a few weeks of experimenting, we have come up with what we consider perfection. Thus, you shall now be privy to one of our tastiest creations yet: Smoked Gouda Mac!

 

 

Ingredients:
8 slices of bacon, cooked
2 cups of broccoli, chopped and steamed
1 cup of tomatoes
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3-4 cups fat free half-and-half, divided
8 oz grated smoked Gouda
8 oz cubed processed cheese
ground salt and pepper to taste
Pasta

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line tinfoil on a cookie sheet with edges and place the bacon on the tinfoil. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until bacon is fully browned.

Wash and chop the broccoli. Put it in a steamer and cook for 8-10 minutes or until fork tender. Dice two medium tomatoes and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large pan with high sides over medium heat, whisking in the flour for about 1 minute.

Begin boiling water for your pasta.

Gradually add two cups of the half-and-half one quarter cup at a time to the rue, stirring constantly. Then, mix in the salt, pepper, processed cheese, and smoked Gouda cheese into the large pan until melted. The sauce will thicken considerably at this point. Add the half-and-half 1/2 cup at a time until the cheese sauce reaches a desired consistancy. The sauce should be just thin enough that it will pour off of a spoon; it is roughly the consistency of an alfredo sauce.

When the bacon is done baking, dab it with paper towels and crumble it. Then add the bacon and tomatoes into the sauce. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, allowing the sauce to soak up the bacon and tomato flavor.

Finally, over each serving of cooked pasta, add 1/4 cup of the smoked Gouda cheese sauce and several pieces of steamed broccoli.

This meal is superb the day of and makes for excellent leftovers. Store with some pasta in a microwave container and you will have meals for several days to come!

Casa de Lindquist recommends that you try your Smoked Gouda Mac with a side salad and a breadstick!

 

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Smoked Gouda Mac