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  • Writer's pictureAlana Wynn

Smoked Gouda and Mushroom Mac and Cheese

Updated: Apr 29, 2021

Cheese sauce so easy you won't want to buy box again.

Rotini mac and cheese mixed with mushrooms and topped with garlicky toasted panko bread crumbs.

This mac and cheese comes together quickly and doesn't require any baking in the oven. It also doesn't use many ingredients and after you make it once you can easily customize it based off what is in your fridge.

If you have yet to make your own mac and cheese then this is the year! Aside from the fact that you can customize it to your liking, another great thing is YOU KNOW WHAT'S IN IT. Hey, I liked Annie's and Kraft as much as the next person, but did I know all the ingredients going into it? Of course not. And part of what I like so much about cooking/baking typically unhealthy things is I know each and every ingredient going into my body. Sure it's a lot of cheese or carbs, but pros are you know there aren't any preservatives or other questionable items. Those are my two cents, but it's been a goal of mine to cut down on processed foods in my diet. So if I want the good stuff on a weeknight then I'm making the good stuff.

Roux Time

ingredients on a table: pasta, parsley, mushrooms, cheese, mustard and butter

This cheese sauce is made with a roux. A roux is when you melt butter in a pan, add some flour and whisk until you cook off the flour taste and or get a deep color. This base helps make your sauce thick. In this recipe I cooked it down until it became a light brown color before adding my milk. You can use whichever milk you choose, keep in mind you might have to cook it a little longer if it's not as fatty (almond, oat, skim). For things like this it's best to just go with whole milk. It doesn't take as long to thicken and will add to the creamy texture.

Cheesey, Funky and Ooey Gooey.

Obviously this is a great time for a She's The Man reference. Couldn't help myself (an Amanda Bynes classic). Anyway! Adding a few different cheeses makes your mac have a more dynamic flavor. For this recipe I used a bourbon barrel aged smoked gouda and Parmesan cheese. Even if you are subbing in cheddar I will still encourage you to keep the parm for added umph!

This cheese sauce moves fast so make sure to read the recipe over once and have all your ingredients ready to go. If you're running behind just take the pot off the stove to slow down the cooking process until you have the next ingredients ready.

Texture Please!

Rotini mac and cheese mixed with mushrooms and topped with garlicky toasted panko bread crumbs.

You haven't had a great bowl of pasta until you have had it with bread crumbs. More specifically, toasted panko! Panko bread crumbs are already crispyier than regular bread crumbs, so you get a bigger crunch. If you prefer a creamy bowl of pasta then you might want to forgo this step, but these toasty-garlicky bread crumbs add a great texture with every bite. I would suggest this with any other pasta recipe too. The bonus about cooking the crumbs in a pan is you don't need to bake this in an oven, you just top your bowl and enjoy :)


Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese with Mushrooms and Garlic Bread Crumbs

Makes 6 Servings (about ½ Cup a Serving)

Cook Time: 30 Minutes


8oz Pasta of your choice (half a box)

8oz Sliced Mushrooms

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 Garlic Glove (grated)

½ Cup Panko


Cheese Sauce

1 Cup Shredded Gouda Cheese

½ Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese

½ Tsp. Dijion Mustard (powdered or spread)

½ Tsp. Garlic Powder

½ Tsp. Kosher Salt

2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter

2 Tbsp. Flour

1½ Cup Whole Milk

  1. Cook pasta in heavily salted water to box recommendations and set aside.

  2. While pasta cooks, saute mushrooms until crispy and put aside.

  3. In a clean pan add olive oil and grated garlic. Cook until fragrant (aprox. 1 minute).

  4. Add panko to the pan and stir every minute, keeping a close eye on it until panko is a golden brown color. Add a small pinch of salt and set aside.

  5. In a large pot melt the butter.

  6. Once the butter is bubbling add the flour and whisk constantly until butter becomes light brown.

  7. Once butter is the right color slowly add milk, whisking constantly. *If you add it too fast it won't thicken properly.

  8. Whisk milk until it starts to thicken. Then add cheeses, mustard, garlic powder, salt and a couple cracks of black pepper.

  9. Once cheese has melted add pasta and mushrooms. Stir to combine.

  10. Serve in bowls and top with a generous amount of bread crumbs!

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