Chef Mark’s Mac and Cheese

Chef Mark Goldberg of PARK Cambridge is a dear friend and unwavering supporter of the MA Cheese Guild. He created a series of luscious mac and cheese dishes for this year’s Massachusetts Cheese Festival. Attendees tasted four versions and voted for their favorites. The winner was a bright, tangy mix of Shy Brothers’ Cloumage® and Great Hill Blue (variation noted at the bottom of this recipe), but all four were delicious. This is a quick and relatively simple way to create comfort food that allows room for creativity. Add some truffle salt, fresh chopped herbs, crumbled bacon or whatever inspires you!

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon all-purpose Flour
2 cups half and half
Salt and pepper to taste

1.5 cups grated or crumbled cheese of your choice (Mark’s Festival samples used Smith’s Smoked Gouda, a Cloumage/Great Hill Blue mix, Robinson Farms’ Arpeggio, and fresh Chevre from Westfield Farms. We think any of our Massachusetts cheeses would be terrific additions!) Note: for softer cheeses like Arpeggio, use 6-8 oz and include the rind for an added flavor accent!

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a thick bottomed pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add flour and stir until a paste forms (roux).  Allow the roux to cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.  Mix occasionally and make sure it doesn’t burn.

2. Add the half and half to the roux and use a whisk to blend all together.  Slowly heat mixture until a simmer and allow it to simmer for a minute or two until thick.

3. Lower heat and mix in desired cheese. Adjust with salt and pepper to taste

Cloumage® and Blue Cheese variation:

While the cream mixture is warm, mix in 1 cup of Shy Brothers’ Cloumage®.  Mix until incorporated.
Crumble up 1 cup Great Hill Blue Cheese and mix that into the sauce.
Adding the cheese over low heat helps melt the cheeses, but be careful to not bring the mixture back up to a simmer as it may cause your sauce to ‘break’. Adjust seasoning. Be careful with salt as the blue carries a fair amount of salt with it. For a tangier sauce, add a higher ratio of cloumage.  For a more pungent sauce, increase the blue ratio.