Goat Cheese and Cherrywood Smoked Cheddar Mac and Cheese Recipe

It’s day 8 of the Aldi Cheese Advent Calendar and we have a Goat Cheese and Cherrywood Smoked Cheddar mac and cheese for our recipe today. The goat cheese adds a tanginess while cherrywood smoked cheddar adds a sweet smokiness. Topped with crispy jalapeños and cilantro lime drizzle sauce, the flavors all balance beautifully together.

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Using Cheese in Mac and Cheese

When you take a bite of cheese, I want you to start paying attention to where the flavor hits you. Some cheeses come out immediately, but fade away quickly. These are what I call opener cheeses. They will be the first cheese you taste when you take a bite of mac and cheese and help start out the dish. Other cheeses take a few seconds to really develop. These are closer cheeses. Their flavor holds out for a bit, but carries through the end of the bite. The best mac and cheese recipes make use of both opener and closer flavors to guarantee flavor carries throughout the entire time you are eating.

Goat Cheese

This goat cheese is super creamy but firmer than I expected. It’s vastly different from the other creamy goat cheeses I’ve made recipes with here, but it’s still delicious and grates beautifully when you’re turning it

Cherrywood Smoked Cheddar

The Cherrywood Smoked Cheddar from Sartori is an interesting cheese. Most cheddars are opener cheeses, and this one strikes a balance between the two categories. The cherrywood smoke is slightly sweet and smoky and pairs beautifully with the goat cheese in this recipe.

Wagon Wheel Pasta in Goat Cheese and Cherrywood Smoked Cheddar Mac and Cheese

The pasta you use in mac and cheese is an important component. If your noodle shape is too large, your dish will be cumbersome and difficult to eat. On the other hand, if your pasta size is too small, you run the risk of your mac and cheese being a soupy mess. New mac and cheese chefs will notice that smaller pastas will more easily show defects in your sauce.

Wagon wheel pasta sits in that perfect Goldilocks spot between too large and too small. Plus the spokes provide ample area for sauce to hang onto making every bite full of flavor.

Toppings

A good mac and cheese recipe uses the right balance of cheeses and pasta, but a great mac and cheese recipe adds extra pops of texture, color, and flavor through toppings. This goat cheese and cherrywood smoked cheddar is topped with cilantro lime drizzle sauce from Hellmann’s and crispy jalapeños for a southwest inspired dish that is as easy to throw together as it is delicious.

Reheating Goat Cheese and Cherrywood Smoked Cheddar Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is notoriously hard to reheat. Microwaving it is guaranteed to yield a greasy mess that nobody wants to eat. However, I’ve see that roux based sauces microwave surprisingly well. In fact, letting your ingredients mingle together in the fridge for a day or two will give you even better mac and cheese than when you put it in there. A minute or two in the microwave and you’ll have delicious mac and cheese.

Add a Fork

This goat cheese and cherrywood smoked cheddar mac and cheese is packed full of flavor and layers beautifully with crispy jalapeños and cilantro lime sauce for a creamy, southwest inspired mac and cheese .

Goat Cheese and Cherrywood Smoked Cheddar Mac and Cheese Recipe

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

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound Wagon wheels or other medium sized pasta

For the Sauce

  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 3 tbsp Flour
  • 3 cups Whole milk
  • 4 oz Goat Cheese
  • 4 oz Cherrywood smoked cheddar
  • 1/2 tbsp Better than bullion Chicken flavor
  • 1 tsp Ground mustard
  • Toppings
  • Bacon bits
  • Cilantro lime sauce Hellmann’s

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 bacon bits and a drizzle of cilantro lime sauce. Serve immediately.
Keyword bacon bits, cherrywood smoked cheddar, cilantro lime sauce, goat cheese, wagon wheels