Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Go Together Like...Mac & Cheese and Roasted Tomatoes

Some things just go well together...

Horses and carriages.

Love and marriage.

Peanut butter and chocolate.

Flip-flops and pedicures.

Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and corned bread pudding.

Biscuits and gravy.

And Macaroni & Cheese and Roasted Tomatoes.

Hear me out...the gooey, cheesy richness of the classic mac & cheese, pairs perfectly with the slightly acidic and tangy roasted tomatoes. The tomatoes cut the grease, and leave a fresh and healthy taste on the palate.


For this combo (dinner...lunch...breakfast), start the tomatoes first, and roast them while you are whipping up the Smokey Gouda Mac & Cheese.

The key to this Mac & Cheese recipe is the smoked gouda. Regular gouda doesn't have the same flavor. Smoked gouda is more mellow, with a light smokey taste. It makes delicious mac & cheese. So delicious, you might never want to go back to your tried and true recipe.

I love baking my mac & cheese in colorful bakeware. I have baked it in this rustic looking brown dish (pictured below). I also have baked it in my red Le Creuset skillet. Gorgeous!

Smokey Gouda Mac & Cheese
Prep time: 30 minutes, Cook time: 30 minutes, Total time: 1 hour
16 ounces (4 cups dry) macaroni
4 Tbsp of unsalted butter
1 small onion
4 Tbsp all purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups (1 pound) grated smoked Gouda cheese
1 pound bacon

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Cook elbow macaroni according to package directions.
-Meanwhile, cut the bacon into 1/2" pieces. In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook until crisp. Drain grease.
-Grate cheese if needed.
-Peel and chop onion.
-Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion until lightly browned and tender. Add the flour. Whisk to combine, and cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly.
-Add the milk and whisk to combine, continuing to heat until the milk comes to a simmer and is thickened.
-Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese, until all of the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
-Mix the cooked macaroni and 3/4 of the bacon with the sauce, and pour into a greased baking dish. Top with remaining bacon. 
-Bake for about 30 minutes until bubbling throughout, and browned on the edges. 

Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 20 minutes, Total time: 30 minutes
3 (8 oz) containers of grape tomatoes
1-1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 large garlic cloves
12 fresh basil leaves

-Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with heavy foil.
-Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Mince the garlic and sprinkle over the tomatoes. Stack the basil leaves in a pile and slice into thin ribbons. Sprinkle over the tomatoes. Drizzle the tomatoes with the oil and vinegar and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
-Roast for 15-20 minutes. Can be served hot or at room temperature.

My mouth is watering...Happy Tuesday!