Today is day 2 of the Aldi Cheese Advent Calendar. Today’s cheese is a Red Pesto gouda which pairs beautifully with asiago in a mac and cheese. This gouda is a creamy cheese infused with tomato, oregano, and garlic flavors.
Every year, Aldi releases a cheese Advent calendar. The calendar contains one individually wrapped piece of cheese for each day. There are twelve different cheeses available so we have two opportunities to explore different recipes we can make to feature each cheese. This is one of those recipes. Follow along here.
It’s important to balance out the flavors in your mac and cheese recipes. Some flavors sit at the beginning of the bite, and some at the end, and for a well rounded dish you want to use ingredients that hit both sides of the spectrum. I generally try to do this with cheeses, but other ingredients can also serve as the opener or closer in a dish.
Truffle is a great example of a closer flavor.
Gouda is a cheese that tends to cross the line between opener and closer. Softer cheeses like we see in this advent calendar lean toward the beginning of the bite while harder, longer aged cheeses move to the end of the bite; It’s important to taste a gouda before using it in a mac and cheese to make sure you’re using the best pairing. This Mediterranean flavored gouda sits squarely in the opener category.
The red pesto that is throughout this cheese is a blend of tomato, oregano, and garlic. The sauce takes on the flavor of those spices, making the dish flavorful. I would love to experiment with mixing pesto into a sauce, but this cheese is a fantastic way to add pesto flavor.
For the closer, I used an Asiago cheese. Asiago is a readily available closer cheese that pairs beautifully with a variety of openers. It’s bold flavor helps it stand out from other prominent flavors in the dish. Asiago is a cheese that can hold its own but blends beautifully with anything you want to throw at it.
The pasta vehicle in this mac and cheese is rotini. Rotini is a small, easy-to-eat pasta with plenty of ridges. These ridges provide pockets to hold the red pesto gouda and asiago cheese sauce, ensuring each bite of mac and cheese is full of flavor.
Red Pesto Gouda and Asiago Mac and CheeseCourse: Side DishCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
16 oz pasta cooked according to package directions
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
3 cups whole milk
4 oz Red Pesto Gouda, grated
4 oz Asiago, grated
salt to taste
pepper to taste
- Pre heat your milk in the microwave for 45 seconds – just enough to take the chill out of it.
- Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat and let it heat until it becomes foamy.
- Mix in flour. Cook it for a minute while stirring constantly
- Slowly add warmed milk to the butter mixture 1/4 cup at a time. Whisk it continually until combined. Season generously with salt and fresh cracked pepper.
- Once all of the milk is added, cook for a few minutes while whisking it. Do not let it boil.
You will feel the sauce start to thicken. It’s ready for cheese when you rub a small amount between your fingers and it feels silky.
- Remove from heat and stir in your cheese until it’s melted and mixed into the sauce.
- Once the cheese is incorporated, use a cooked noodle to taste your sauce. If it doesn’t taste cheesy enough try adding a little more salt to bring out the flavor.
- Combine the pasta and sauce and serve.