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, 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 the mac and cheese we all love with an exciting twist. Expect a rich, creamy recipe using smoked gouda and noodles.
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 and 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. It 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.
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.
You can sub dried breadcrumbs or even panko for the French fried onions if you like. Feel free to use regular black pepper 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 upscale or gourmet macaroni dinner is to cook the pasta, then drain it. Meanwhile you can start the 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 cheese then combine the pasta 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.
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
- 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. 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 a side dish 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.
Mac and cheese is one of the best ever comfort foods and this smoked gouda mac and cheese with pancetta is sooooo good! Pop a sprig of parsley on top before serving for a simple yet totally gourmet presentation.