Rosemary, Cheddar Cheese Curd, and Goat Cheese Mac and Cheese

Hello out there!

The summer is flying by.  Hopefully everyone has been out doing summery things!  I’m doing my best to pack everything into the few short months of extended daylight that we’re blessed with, and it’s been a lot of fun.  A few weeks ago I was part of a whirlwind trip out to the Midwest.  I didn’t pet any cows this time, but I did squeeze most of the Wisconsin food groups into about 72 hours {cheese, cheese curds, Prime Rib, sour cream, kringle, and bratwurst (boiled in beer of course)}.  I don’t know how I didn’t gain a gazillion pounds, but I escaped them this time.

I did manage to snag some cheese curds from one of my favorite places, Mars Cheese Castle.  I’ve always described it as pre-cheese.  I’m not sure if that’s exactly true, and I know it sounds a little funky, but they’re delicious.  I always try to pick some up when I’m out there to bring back home, but when I get home, I tend to be a little cheesed out, forget to eat the curds, and it’s not uncommon for them to die in the fridge.  I wasn’t going to let that happen this time.

Instead of giving in to food waste, I made the most of an evening in the kitchen.  Cheese curds don’t always melt down like regular cheddar, but I really wanted mac and cheese, and so I used a little patience.  My go-to mac and cheese recipe is from the Fannie Farmer cookbook, and I just tweaked it to use the cheese I wanted to.  I highly recommend the following recipe that I threw together.  It’s delicious, and the addition of the rosemary elevates the whole dish without being overpowering.

Rosemary, Cheddar Cheese Curd and Goat Cheese Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces dry pasta {I used shells this time, for the nooks and crannies}
  • 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 cups 1% {or whole or whatever you like}
  • 8 ounces Laack’s cheddar cheese curd, or comparable cheese curd brand.
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, divided in 2.
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • A few sprigs fresh rosemary

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  2. Grease an 8×8 baking pan {unless it’s non-stick or silicon}.
  3. Cook your pasta a few minutes shy of package directions.  {Very al dente since they’ll keep cooking a bit in the oven.}
  4. Drain pasta and reserve.  Do not rinse.
  5. In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tbsp butter.
  6. Add 4 tbsp flour and stir until combined.
  7. Let cook a few minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.   Stir so it doesn’t burn.
  8. Slowly pour in milk, stirring as you add it to help prevent lumps.
  9. Heat until just below boiling and then reduce to a simmer, stirring frequently.
  10. When the milk-flour sauce has thickened, add half the goat cheese and all of the cheese curds, a little at a time, stirring to distribute throughout the sauce.
  11. When all your cheese is melted, add the pasta to the sauce and mix until every noodle or piece of pasta is covered in cheese.
  12. Transfer your mac and cheese to the prepared baking dish.
  13. Crumble remaining goat cheese over pasta and top with panko breadcrumbs and rosemary.
  14. Bake uncovered until top is toasty golden brown.  It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
  15. Enjoy!
IMG_7779Aug 11, 2015

Cheese curds close-up.

IMG_7784Aug 11, 2015

Cooked and drained shells.

IMG_7781Aug 11, 2015

Melty cheese curds in the milk sauce.

IMG_7782Aug 11, 2015

See how they’re getting really melty?

IMG_7785Aug 11, 2015

Melted down curds.

IMG_7786Aug 11, 2015

Combined shells and cheese sauce.

IMG_7787Aug 11, 2015

Poured into prepared baking dish.

IMG_7788Aug 11, 2015

Dotted with goat cheese.

IMG_7789Aug 11, 2015

Sprinkled with bread crumbs.

IMG_7791Aug 11, 2015

And fresh-cut rosemary sprigs. {Another perk of having an herb garden, if you have the space!}

IMG_7793Aug 11, 2015

Out of the oven, golden and crunchy top.

IMG_7796Aug 11, 2015

Close-up of my bowl. Lots of cheesy deliciousness! The rosemary and goat cheese make it grown-up, so go ahead and grab an extra forkful.

What’s your favorite way to mac and cheese?  

* This recipe was my own idea.  Neither Mars nor Laack’s is sponsoring me, although if they’d like to I’d love to talk!

Advertisements