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Applewood Smoked Cheddar and Asiago Mac and Cheese

Applewood Smoked Cheddar and Asiago Mac and Cheese

Today’s Ilchester calendar recipe is a Applewood Smoked Cheddar and Asiago mac and cheese.

This cheese calendar is the passion project of Annem Hobson from So Wrong It’s Nom. Each day contains .7 oz of cheese from 9 different varieties and I’m turning each into a single serving of mac and cheese. You can follow along here.

How to use cheese in mac and cheese

When you take a bite of mac and cheese, I want you to pay attention to when the cheesy flavor starts to develop. Sometimes it takes a few seconds but it holds strong throughout the end of the bite. These are what I call “closer cheeses”. Other cheeses hit you immediately but fade away before you’re finished eating it. These are “opener cheeses”.

Well-rounded mac and cheese recipes make use of both opener and closer flavors to guarantee consistent cheesy flavor throughout the entire time you’re eating it.

Applewood Smoked Cheddar

Applewood is an old friend around here, but we have never tried the Smoked Cheddar. Missing out on this cheese is a travesty. It offers the comforting flavors you’d expect from a Cheddar with a smoky finish. Cheddar has plenty of opener flavors perfect for pairing with a variety of other ingredients. This cheese is unique in that the smoky flavor finishes out the bite. You could get away with using this cheese on it’s own, but when I was sampling it I loved the way it paired with Asiago.

Asiago Cheese

Asiago is a fun closer to use in a mac and cheese. It offers a bold, distinct flavor that pairs beautifully with a ton of cheeses. It holds up well against even the most prominent of topping choices. Asiago is readily available and a great option to keep in your fridge.

Rotini Pasta in Applewood Smoked Cheddar and Asiago Mac and Cheese

One of the most important ingredients in mac and cheese is the pasta. You can’t grab any pasta off the shelf and expect mac and cheese perfection. If your noodle shape is too large, you run the risk of your dish being cumbersome and difficult to eat. On the other hand, if your noodle is too small, your dish will be a soupy mess. Also you lose valuable texture benefits that you’ll see in other better shapes.

Rotini, like I used in today’s recipe, sits in the perfect Goldilocks spot between too large and too small, and it offers plenty of ridges to hold onto sauce and make it pleasant to eat.

Add a Fork

This Applewood smoked cheddar and asiago sauce was easily one of our favorite mac and cheeses of the bunch. It was smoky and flavorful and everything you’d want out of a mac and cheese.

Applewood Smoked Cheddar and Asiago Mac and Cheese

Applewood Smoked Cheddar and Asiago Mac and Cheese

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings


  • 16 oz pasta cooked according to package directions
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 4 oz Applewood Smoked Cheddar, 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.

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