Introducing: the FIRST recipe for one of this year's "Best Thanksgiving Side Dish Challenge" Elite Eight winners, the front-runner for this year's competition, Smoked Gouda Macaroni and Cheese. This mac 'n cheese dish is rich, creamy, and full of flavor. It combines the dry acidic "bite" of white wine with the smoked "bacon-y" flavor from the Gouda. Add in some Fontina for creaminess and the cracker crumble on top for some crunch, and you've got a perfect Thanksgiving side dish! Enjoy.
What You'll Need:
- 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, plain or vegetable-style
- 1 stick butter, divided (4T. + 4T.)
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 1 pound elbow macaroni or small shells
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 pound smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
- 1/2 pound Fontina cheese, shredded
- 2 scallions, optional for garnish
2. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and the 4 tablespoons of flour and whisk until flour has dissolved and the mixture browns and is smooth. Add buttermilk, white wine, onion powder, and spices, and whisk until mixture thickens, about 7 minutes, or until it coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and whisk in cheese until incorporated and melted through.
3. Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Heavily salt the water and cook pasta according to package directions. (Under-cook just slightly - by about one minute - as it is going in the oven for a bit at the end.) Drain pasta and return to hot pot. Add cheese sauce to hot pot with pasta and incorporate until mixed through.