Featured Wisconsin Cheeses: Smoked Gouda
You never know where recipe inspiration may come from.
This past Sunday as I was trying to think of a new macaroni and cheese recipe, I was stuck. I knew I was going to use Wisconsin Smoked Gouda Cheese, but as for everything else, I just didn’t know. Did I want a Tex-Mex mac ‘n cheese with charred poblanos? Or how about a hog-wild American version with bacon and caramelized onions?
So I did what any good recipe developer would do: I started watching the Packers/Giants playoff game. Green Bay had just fumbled the ball, and the Giants recovered it. And I exclaimed, “That’s it!”
“What?” my husband asked, confused.
“The macaroni and cheese,” I said, while sprinting into the kitchen. “It’s Wisconsin Cheeseheads meets New Yorkers.”
The recipe? Salami, Spinach, and Smoked Gouda Macaroni &Cheese.
I reckoned that Packers fans would like the creamy, fragrant Wisconsin Smoked Gouda and spinach (which happen to be yellow and green), while Giants fans would like the decidedly East Coast bravado of Italian dry salami and olive-oil soaked bread crumbs.
Of course, you don’t have to be a Giants or Packers fan to love this macaroni and cheese recipe. You don’t even have to like football. Just have taste buds.
Salami, Spinach and Smoked Gouda Macaroni & Cheese
Makes 8 servings
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
8 ounces dry Italian salami, diced
6 cups (about 4 ounces) fresh baby spinach
1 pound lined penne (penne rigate)
8 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
6 cups whole milk
4 cups (16 ounces) Wisconsin Smoked Gouda Cheese, grated
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
Place breadcrumbs in a small bowl. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil, and mix with your fingertips. Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion and sauté 3 minutes or until softened. Add diced salami and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add spinach and stir until just wilted. Remove from heat.
Cook pasta in salted water, about 2 minutes short of being fully cooked; it will finish cooking in the oven. Drain the cooked pasta, but do not rinse.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour. Gradually add milk, whisking continuously until it reaches a boil. Add the cheese and crushed red pepper flakes, and stir. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until thick and bubbly.
Add the parsley, salami mixture and cooked pasta, and stir until well combined. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top evenly with the breadcrumbs. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the cheese sauce is bubbling around the edges.
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Macaroni & Cheese, salami, smoked gouda, spinach, Wisconsin Cheese
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