Decadent is the only word to describe this top-rated mac 'n' cheese of John's City Diner in Birmingham. The smoked gouda adds marvelous flavor, but you can substitute regular gouda.
1 cup Japanese breadcrumbs (panko)
1 (4-oz.) package thinly sliced prosciutto
1 (16-oz.) package penne pasta
1/2 cup butter
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups whipping cream
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 (10-oz.) blocks sharp white Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded smoked Gouda
1/2 cup (2 oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 400°. Bake breadcrumbs in a single layer on a baking sheet 5 to 7 minutes or until golden, stirring once after 2 1/2 minutes.
Cook prosciutto, in batches, in a lightly greased large skillet over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until crisp. Drain on paper towels; crumble.
Prepare pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat; add shallot, and sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add wine, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of Dutch oven, and cook 1 minute.
Gradually whisk in flour until smooth; cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk and next 4 ingredients; cook, whisking constantly, 12 to 14 minutes or until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Remove and discard bay leaf.
Place 4 cups (16 oz.) Cheddar cheese in a large heatproof bowl. Reserve remaining Cheddar cheese for another use. Add Gouda and Parmesan cheeses to bowl.
Gradually pour white sauce over cheeses, whisking until cheeses are melted and sauce is smooth.
Stir in pasta and prosciutto until blended. Pour into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish; sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until bubbly. Serve immediately.
Note: For testing purposes only, we used Fiorucci Riserva Prosciutto and Cracker Barrel Vermont White Sharp Cheddar.
No-Bake Not Yo' Mama's Mac 'n' Cheese: Omit breadcrumbs. Prepare recipe as directed in Steps 2 through Stir pasta, prosciutto, and cheeses into white sauce. Serve immediately.
Note: Don't use preshredded cheese; it doesn't melt as smoothly. You can shred the cheese and crisp the prosciutto up to one day ahead and chill. You can also toast the breadcrumbs ahead and store them in a zip-top plastic bag.
Since it is the end of the mon and we have more than expended our food budget, I substituted Monteray Jack for the Gouda. If the Gouda makes it better than this version, we are in for a real treat next time.
I have made this recipe three times for different get togethers and its been a hit every single time!! Everyone keeps asking for the recipe. Absolutely DELICIOUS!!! I've tried other mac n cheese recipes and none come close to this one in flavor and pure yumminess. If you're a cheese lover you will love, love this recipe!
This is the best mac'n'cheese ever! I have made this at least 10 times. I bring this to parties and it is the first dish gone. Everyone loves it. The smoked gouda is great. I wouldn't change a thing. The only suggestion I have is once the milk has thickened, remove from heat, add cheeses and proscuitto and then pasta and follow rest of directions as written. No need for another dish to wash.