Smoked Gouda Macaroni and Cheese

  I’ve had to give the credit for my baked mac and cheese and my Tuscan mac and cheese to other parties.  I didn’t come up with them and am not even going to try and pretend I did.  This one though…this one I developed, completely on my own.  (Don’t worry, it’s been taste tested by many, many people, it’s not actually lethal)

  The summer I started dating my Mr. I worked at a nicer restaurant.  They had a pasta dish that inspired this recipe…but since my job was most definitely not in the kitchen, I had to wing it trying to recreate it.
  Here’s what we’re making:
As a note, typically I add some chicken to this dish,
 but it works without it as well if you’re in a hurry or want vegetarian.
  Here’s what you need:
1/2 lb shell pasta (I like these best because they catch the cheese sauce so well)
7 oz smoked gouda cheese, shredded
1 Tbsp butter
1/2-1 cup milk
Cooked chicken breast, cut into chunks (optional)
  Start by boiling your noodles.  When they are cooked to your preferred tenderness, drain them and return them to the pan with the butter.  Working over medium low heat, add a small amount of milk and mix.  Slowly add your grated cheese to your pasta, stirring constantly and adding milk whenever your cheese begins to be stringy.  You want to keep it a cheesy, creamy sauce.  1/2-1 cup of milk is an estimate of how much I use.  Keep mixing until all of your cheese is in the pan.  If you want to add chicken, you can either mix it in at this point or serve it on top.  Either way, serve warm.
  This is not an every day dish.  It is incredibly indulgent in that “you can feel your heart begging for mercy after you eat it” kind of way.  I make it once or twice a year, tops…but it’s always a huge hit when I do.  Honestly, I don’t think anyone who has had this recipe has not liked it.
  Try it out.  Maybe you’ll be the first.  I doubt it.

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