I bought some smoked gouda the other day and thought it would be great in some homemade mac & cheese, so I came up with this recipe. Leave the bacon out for a meatless meal and it would still taste great, I think.
Smoky Macaroni & Cheese with Bacon
6 slices of bacon, fried, drained and crumbled
1 box (13.25 ounces) whole wheat penne pasta
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon flour (I used 1/2 white, 1/2 whole wheat)
1/2 cup half and half cream
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup shredded smoked gouda cheese
Fry bacon, drain and crumble, then set it aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in cream and milk. Cook and stir until mixture thickens, 2-3 minutes. Stir in cheeses until melted, then remove from heat. Stir most of the bacon pieces into the cheese sauce mixture, reserving a tablespoon or two of bacon pieces for garnish.
Stir cheese sauce into cooked pasta until evenly coated. Spoon into serving dish and garnish with reserved bacon pieces.
Makes 4 to 6 main-dish sized servings.