Extra Mature Cheddar and Gruyère Mac and Cheese Recipe

Extra Mature Cheddar and Gruyère Mac and Cheese

The first cheese in Aldi’s advent calendar is one of my favorite cheeses to cook with. I used it to create an extra mature cheddar and Gruyère mac and cheese that is packed with flavor and perfect to start a month of mac and cheese.

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Using Cheese in Mac and Cheese

When tasting cheese, pay attention to when the flavor starts to shine. If the cheesiness comes out immediately but fades away, these are what I call opener cheeses. Other cheeses take a few seconds to develop the flavor but it holds strong while you are eating it. These are closer cheese. Well-balanced mac and cheese recipes Make use of both opener and closer cheeses.

Extra Mature Cheddar

Cheddar is one of my favorite things to use in mac and cheese. It’s a fantastic opener cheese that welcomes you to the bowl and is packed with flavor. Cheddar can be aged for several lengths of time, and that’s what Extra Mature designates. It helps you know how strong the flavor is. The sharper your cheddar, the more prominent the cheesy flavor will be in your final mac and cheese dish. Extra mature is similar in sharpness to extra sharp cheddar.

Gruyère

Gruyère (pronounced groo-yair) is a Swiss cheese that works beautifully as a bold closer. It shines beautifully in mac and cheeses, especially paired with sharp openers that can hold up against a stronger closer.

Lumache Pasta in Extra Mature Cheddar and Gruyere Mac and Cheese

Pasta is a key component in mac and cheese. Using the wrong noodle can destroy the foundation of your dish. You have to find the perfect Goldilocks middle between pasta that is too small and pasta that is too large. Large noodles are cumbersome and difficult to eat, making your meal more trouble to eat than it’s worth. On the other hand, if your pasta is too small, you run the risk of your dish becoming a soupy mess.

In today’s recipe I used lumache which is also marketed as shellbows. This pasta is like if shells and elbows had a baby. One side is wide open like a shell that curves around to a slightly pinched closure at the other end. This semi-closed shape paired with plenty of ridges grip onto sauce making it a fantastic choice for mac and cheese.

Toppings

When your mac and cheese is packed with bold cheeses, you have to make use of toppings that can hold their own. Chopped green onions add a pop of color and freshness to an otherwise rich and heavy dish. The jalapeño hot sauce from Yellowbird is one of my favorite recent discoveries. It’s great for adding a little bit of spice without being too much. Layering this extra mature cheddar and Gruyère mac and cheese with green onions and the jalapeño hot sauce yields a bright, rich, and delicious mac and cheese.

Reheating Extra Mature Cheddar and Gruyère Mac and Cheese

While many mac and cheese recipes leave your dish a greasy soggy mess after reheating, this dish does not have that issue. The flavors come together beautifully after being refrigerated and microwaving for a minute or so will yield a delicious lunch. You could even prepare this mac and cheese a day or two early and have an impressive dish ready for any event.

Add a Fork

Extra mature cheddar and Gruyère mac and cheese layered with bright, bold toppings is perfect for dinner on a cozy night in.

Extra Mature Cheddar and Gruyère mac and cheese recipe

Extra Mature Cheddar and Gruyère Mac and Cheese Recipe

Extra mature cheddar and Gruyère mac and cheese layered with bright, bold toppings is perfect for dinner on a cozy night in.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Entree, Sides
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound Lumache (shellbows) or other medium sized pasta

For the Sauce

  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 3 tbsp Flour
  • 3 cups Whole milk
  • 4 oz Extra mature cheddar grated
  • 4 oz Gruyère Grated
  • 1/2 tbsp Better than bullion Chicken flavor
  • 1 tsp Ground mustard

Toppings

  • 3 stalks Green onion tops Sliced thinly
  • Yellowbird jalapeño hot sauce Or other hot sauce

Instructions
 

  • Cook the pasta according to package directions in well salted water. If you think it’s salty enough, add more.

Prepare the Sauce

  • 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. Stir in mustard powder and Better than Bullion
  • 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.

Plate Your Mac and Cheese

  • Layer pasta with green onions and a drizzle of hot sauce. Serve immediately.
Keyword extra mature cheddar, gruyere, lumache, shellbows