Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese with Kale and Onions

IMG 7695

I thought it might be fun today if I gave you a little look into my thought process for coming up with ideas for the blog. 

So here’s the deal, I think about food – oh, let’s say 85% percent of the time – hmmm. . scratch that, maybe 90%.  The rest is basically, husband, pug(s), work related, family,  friends, the fact that I’m cold (come to my office) or that I’d really like to take a nap.  There might be some other things going on in my head too, but I can’t think about it right now because I’m thinking about food.  

It’s a problem, my husband gives me a hard time because I don’t keep up enough with news websites anymore, unless you count Gothamist.  

Right so back to my process, I have to write, ahem, I mean note everything down.  My Google calendar is a mess.  I keep track of everything on there.  When I might want to post stuff, or future ideas for recipes and things are constantly being shifted around.  

So where do the ideas come from?  Sometimes I get a craving and think, I haven’t made that in awhile AND I haven’t blogged about it.  Down it goes.  “Ooh, that would be a good twist on a classic, let’s do it.”  Then of course, an item becomes seasonal and that’s all I want to eat, so you get the multiple days in a row of just that ingredient.  

IMG 7693

I also subscribe to about 4 cooking magazines, not to mention all the blogs I read on a daily basis.  Like I said 90% of my time. 

Now this recipe, I’ve been making plain old smoked gouda mac and cheese for years and then one day when I had some kale sitting in the fridge I thought, I’m going to add it to mac and cheese!  Boom. Done.  Here’s your recipe!

IMG 7700

Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese with Kale and Onions
Save Recipe


  • 1 16oz box gemelli pasta
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 oz baby kale
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz smoked gouda, shredded
  • 8 oz extra sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • a few turns of freshly grated black pepper
  • Panko breadcrumbs and additional butter to top


  1. Bring a large stockpot filled with salted water to boil. Cook the pasta according to the packages directions (subtracting about 2 minutes, as to not overcook the pasta later). Drain and set aside.
  2. Over medium heat, drizzle a little olive oil and sauté the onions until soft and lightly caramelized, stirring often, making sure they don't burn - about 15 minutes. Add the baby kale and cook until wilted about an additional five minutes.
  3. While the onions are cooking, in a medium-sized pot melt the butter over low heat and whisk in the flour to create a roux. Whisk the roux for at least a minute to cook out the raw flour taste.
  4. While whisking, slowly pour in half your milk into the roux, once there are no lumps remaining, add the remaining milk and heavy cream. Cook for 7-10 minutes until the béchamel has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon, making sure to stir every 30 seconds. Whisk in the cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper.
  5. Turn off the heat and in batches, stir in the cheese until completely melted. Add the onion/kale mixture and finally stir in the cooked pasta.
  6. Pour the mac and cheese into a 13X9 buttered dish and top with panko breadcrumbs and dot with pieces of unsalted butter.
  7. Place into a pre-heated 350 degree oven and cook for 30 minutes until set.
  8. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe Type: Main Dish, Pasta, Cheese, Vegetarian

IMG 7694

Little Red Kitchen Bake Shop

9 thoughts on “Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese with Kale and Onions

  1. April

    haha that is about how my though process works… I think about food way to much- I need to get more organized though 🙂 I love smoked gouda mac and cheese-the kale is a nice addition!

  2. Anita at Hungry Couple

    I seriously dislike this post and let me tell you why. First off, you’re flaunting your Le Creuset pans in my face knowing full well (I don’t care if you didn’t know!) that I covet those two exact dishes. Except I actually covet them in yellow but that’s not what’s important here. The other offense is that you know I was obsessing about some gouda mac & cheese we had over the summer (stop telling me you don’t know these things) and here you’ve gone and made a bunch of it and are scarfing it down while I’m here with no smoked gouda mac. I thought we were friends… humph!

    1. Susan

      Mwahahahahah! I did know about you wanting smoked gouda mac! I should have wrote that this recipe was totally for you! P.s. The two LC’s here are not expensive. Chanukah starts on Friday, better tell Brian to get to it!

      1. Anita at Hungry Couple

        I have them on my Amazon wish list along with a bunch of other stuff I want and Brian has been given explicit tutoring on how to access the Amazon wish list. I can’t really get too greedy considering the camera he just bought me, though… 🙂

  3. Renee

    No need to scoop out this mac and cheese into a smaller dish. I think the big dish is just the right single serving size for me. Hand me a spoon and it would be all over. Brilliant on adding the kale. Makes it totally healthy right?

  4. Aly ~ Cooking In Stilettos

    This sounds fantastic! I love the thought process 🙂 Lately it’s been pug issues 65% of the time, blog 25% of the time and then the rest is shoes, work, family, yadda yadda.

    I need to send Anita some LC luv – she’s not too pleased 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *