Saturday, June 7, 2014

Gouda Mac N Cheese with Kale and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Warning: this is not a healthy recipe, I repeat This. Is. Not. Healthy : ) But oh so delicious!

Night Two of my wild and crazy weekend of cooking like a single girl again...just had to be some mac n cheese.

I don't think it matters how old you are, everyone loves mac n cheese, and the cheesier, the better!
I'm asked a lot what my favorite food is, and that is just too broad of a question for me to answer. I need subcategories in order to explain my favorite foods. But if someone asked me what my favorite cheese is it would be an easy answer: Smoked Gouda.

So when I decided that night two of my wild and crazy husband free eating weekend would be mac n cheese there was no question it was going to be Gouda mac N cheese. I decided to go with kale because I had some I needed to use, and sun dried tomatoes because I happened to have them on hand too!

This recipe is great because you can really add anything to the sauce to load it up. One of my favorite variations I call The Connor in honor of my brother in law. It's a very simple variation but its so good! Just add bacon bits. Cook up some bacon, chop it up, and add it in. I refer to this as The Connor because I just happened to make it one night and post a picture of it on Facebook and he thought it was the best idea ever. So much so that we have had many conversations about the greatness of bacon mac n cheese and I also made if for him for his birthday this last year.

Other Variations:
- Jalapeno Popper: fresh chopped jalapeno's, and chopped ham.
-Pesto Mac: Pesto, Sun dried  tomatoes, and panchetta.

The Line Up:
The Gnomes are my salt and pepper. 
 4 tablespoons butter
1 3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
Dash of salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard
2 cups chopped kale
2 1/2 cups grated smoked Gouda cheese
1 cup grated mild cheddar cheese
1 cup julienne sun dried tomatoes
1 Box whole grain pasta

Start by getting the water boiling for the pasta and heat the oven to 375 degrees. While that's happening, get out your favorite sauce pan or deep skillet (I like my 12' Calphalon Fryer). Put your butter in your pan and turn the stove to medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the milk and let it boil up a little.

When the milk and butter start to boil, turn the heat down and add the flour slowly. This will start to thicken up and look almost like cream of wheat. Once you have mixed the flour in all the way, add in the heavy cream, spices, and kale, and turn the heat back up to medium low to cook the kale a little, about 5 min, stirring often so the creamy mixture doesn't stick to the pan.

 I don't really let it cook till it's soft because I like the crunch it adds to the pasta! But if you want to make it more like a steamed consistency you can put it in a microwave safe bowl with a tiny bit of water and heat it up for 1 min. 

Once the kale has cooked for 5 min add in the sun dried tomatoes and cheeses. Again reduce heat to medium low and let cheese melt. Once they have melted turn off the stove. Grease a casserole dish and drain the pasta when it is done. Then pour the cheese mixture and the pasta into a casserole dish and mix completely. Place in the oven uncovered and let it cook for 20 min.  

Bon Appetit Friends!

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