Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Loaded mac and cheese

Forget the boxed junk.

This is cheaper and better -- the cubes of smoked Gouda make nice pockets of oozing, gooey cheese and lend a smoky punch. And, you can always batter up the leftovers and fry them like croquettes -- not that there will be leftovers.

1 8 ounce package of macaroni, cooked to package directions and drained

about 3 tablespoons butter, chopped in pieces
2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup smoked Gouda cheese, cut in 1-inch cubes
4 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
pinch of salt and pepper
2 cups warm milk mixed with 1 tablespoon of flour
a sprinkle of paprika
bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350.

To a heavy saucepan, add the butter, milk and flour and cook over medium heat. Add the cheeses. Cook until cheese is melted and sauce just begins to thicken. Add all ingredients, except bread crumbs, to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

Top with enough bread crumbs to make a nice, even layer, then dot with more butter.Bake for about 30-40 minutes until golden brown on top.