Take standard mac and cheese to inspiring new heights with this smoked gouda mac and cheese with pancetta recipe. Elbow noodles pair up with gouda cheese, white cheddar, garlic, pancetta or bacon, shallots, and more, to create this seriously impressive dish. You can enjoy this grown up mac and cheese as a side dish or as the main dish and I guarantee second helpings and clean plates!
This delicious upscale or gourmet macaroni dinner is simply mac and cheese we all love with an exciting twist. Expect a rich, creamy recipe using smoked gouda and noodles. It is the perfect side dish and sure to be a family favourite.
Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese with Pancetta Ingredients
Before we get into the ingredients, it’s worth saying if you’re looking for a simpler mac and cheese dish you might find this Instant Pot mac and cheese better for your needs. If you’re excited to make this smoked gouda mac and cheese though, read on!
The key ingredients in this grown up mac and cheese are the elbow noodles, white cheddar and smoked gouda cheese. These are ingredients you’ll be familiar with if you’ve made mac and cheese before. Smoked gouda is the cheese of choice in this upscale or gourmet macaroni dinner. The smoky flavor is perfect and a nice change form the classic.
This mac and cheese recipe has an elegant flavour profile and really suits the other ingredients. If you want to use another kind of cheese though, that’s also fine. If you don’t have pancetta on hand, crumbled bacon is a great alternative for this homemade mac and cheese recipe. Instead of the fried onion, you could use panko breadcrumbs instead.
Pancetta or bacon goes into the dish as well as butter, garlic, shallot, cream, milk, French onions, truffle salt, red pepper flakes, and flour. Pancetta and bacon are similar because they’re both made of pork belly. Bacon tends to be smokier and heavier in terms of taste so if you can’t find smoked cheese, use bacon in place of the pancetta to add that smoky touch.
This is a very creamy smoked gouda mac and cheese which contrasts well with the crunchy topping.
You can sub dried breadcrumbs or even panko for the French fried onions if you like. Feel free to use regular black pepper or smoked paprika in place of the spicier red pepper flakes. I like to use elbow macaroni because it’s the traditional pasta shape for mac and cheese. You can use another shape if you prefer though.
How to Make Grown Up Mac and Cheese
The first step in this smoked gouda macaroni dinner is to cook the pasta al dente per the package directions, then drain it. Meanwhile you can start the cheese sauce. Add oil to a hot frying pan then add your pancetta or bacon. Cook it and then set it aside, keeping the grease in the pan. Add the butter then the garlic and shallot and sauté.
Add the flour and cook and then the cream and milk. It’s best to add the cream and milk bit by bit, so you can make sure everything is getting mixed together properly.
Mix in the shredded cheese then combine the macaroni noodles with the cheese sauce and the pancetta or bacon. Transfer this mixture into a casserole dish then sprinkle on the French onions mixed with melted butter. Bake for 20 minutes then serve the smoked gouda mac and cheese with pancetta hot.
Mac and Cheese History
Although this smoked gouda mac and cheese with pancetta is a relatively new take on the classic dish, mac and cheese dates back further than you might think. In fact, pasta and cheese were paired as long ago as in the 1300s!
The first modern(ish) recipe was in an 18th century cookbook and incorporated a béchamel sauce with the pasta, cheddar and parmesan. The dish made its way to the US and was served in 1802 at a state dinner by Thomas Jefferson.
Grown Up Mac and Cheese FAQs
First of all, you need to serve it nice and hot – straight from the oven if possible! I could eat a bowl of this for lunch and be very happy until dinnertime. But it’s also great as a side dish for steak or pork or similar.
Although it’s best served fresh from the oven, you can make this recipe using smoked gouda ahead. Also, leftovers are great! If you’re making it ahead, just make it until the baking stage then refrigerate it. When you’re ready to cook it, proceed with the recipe, allowing the mac and cheese to come to room temperature while the oven is warming up.
If, on the other hand, you’re dealing with leftovers, cover the dish with foil and keep it refrigerated. When you’re ready to warm it back up, give it about 15 minutes at 375 degrees F in the oven or else heat it back up at 50% power in the microwave. Leftovers will keep for up to 4 days.
If you aren’t fond of the Gouda taste and would prefer to use a different cheese, more white cheddar cheese or a sharp white cheddar would be a good substitute and super creamy.
This delicious recipe is a cheesy, bacon-y twist on the classic recipe that will be a meal the whole family loves. Making smoked gouda mac and cheese is so easy and the leftovers are very good for lunch the next day. I am certain that this will become one of your favourite macaroni and cheese recipes.
Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese with Pancetta Recipe
Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese with Pancetta
- 1 Pasta pasta elbow
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ½ Cup pancetta
- ½ Cup butter
- 2 Teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 Tablespoon shallot minced
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 1 Cup heavy cream
- 2 Cups whole milk
- 8 Ounces cheese smoked Gouda, shredded
- 6 Ounces white cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 Teaspoon peppercorns fresh cracked
- 2 Cups crispy fried onions I used French's
- 3 Tablespoon butter
- 1 Teaspoon truffle salt
- ½ Teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. Boil the elbow noodles al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In the meantime heat a deep frying pan over medium high heat.
- Once hot, add the olive oil and swirl to coat. Add in the pancetta and cook for 5 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Remove the pancetta from the pan and set aside. * Do not drain the frying pan*. Add the butter and melt. Once melted, add in the minced garlic and shallot and sauté for two minutes. Next, whisk in the flour and cook for one minute.
- Alternate incorporating the heavy cream and milk slowly ¼ cup at a time. Whisk well and cook for 5 minutes to thicken. Then stir in the cheese. Turn off the heat and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Combine noodles, cheese sauce, and pancetta in a large bowl. Stir well.
- Pour macaroni and cheese into a 9×13” casserole dish.
- Add fried onions to the food processor and pulse 5 to 6 times. Add to a bowl and pour in the melted butter. Add in truffle salt and red pepper flakes. Stir with a fork until combined.
- Evenly spread crumb mixture over the top of the macaroni.
- Place the casserole dish into the oven on the center rack and bake for 20 minutes. Serve in bowls.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
Whether you’re looking for side dishes or an impressive pasta-based meal, there is no doubt you’ll love this smoked gouda mac and cheese with pancetta. It’s a recipe using smoked gouda which makes a wonderful upscale or gourmet macaroni dinner with a creamy cheese sauce. The great things is that even a picky eater will like this better than the boxed stuff.
Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food and this is the best mac and cheese recipe. It is sooooo good! Pop a sprig of parsley on top of your homemade macaroni before placing on the dinner table for a simple yet totally gourmet presentation.
this is my kind of comfort food meal!
This sounds amazing, it’s like an elevated version of Mac&cheese and I’m here for it
Now THAT’s my kind of mac n cheese! I would totally, and happily, eat that!
This looks amazing! I usually make the macaroni and cheese for my family at family dinners and this would be a perfect switch from the traditional
This looks so good! I wonder how this taste! This is really something good to try, leveling up our mac n cheese traditional recipe!
This sounds incredible! I love mac n cheese and smoked gouda sounds like the perfect cheese to add!
What exactly is the unit of measurement for the pasta? 1lb or 1 cup?
It is 1 pound dry pasta. The boxes are usually that weight. Boxes like this one https://amzn.to/3TngscX I hope that helps. 🙂
I’m not seeing where the truffle salt is added. That is if I can even find truffle salt..
It goes in the topping. I edited it in the recipe. Thanks for letting me know it was missed. If you can’t find truffle salt, just omit. Will still taste great.
This is our new favorite way to make mac and cheese. It turns out amazing every time.