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One pot, six ingredients and 20 minutes is all it takes to get smoked Gouda mac and cheese on the dinner table tonight! This hearty one pot pasta is loaded with flavors of smokey cheese and sun dried tomatoes in a creamy, dreamy sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley and you've got an elevated version of mac and cheese that your kids will still love!
How to make one pot mac and cheese:
Well, as the name suggests, you will cook everything in the same pot! Which is going to save you SO. MUCH. TIME.
Add uncooked pasta, sun dried tomatoes, smoked Gouda, vegetable broth, 2% milk, salt and pepper to a large pan over medium high heat. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
One the pasta is al dente, stir in fresh chopped parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy!
Why you're going to love this recipe:
- It's way more fun than boring old blue box mac and cheese. This is kind of an "adult version" of mac and cheese but it's one that your kids can enjoy eating too!
- It's the perfect quick and easy weeknight dinner when you've got a million things going on and a very hungry family! The ingredient list is short and sweet is so is the cook time, which has made this meal a family favorite in our house!
- The flavors rock. Smoked Gouda is an amazing cheese (and one of my personal faves) and this pasta dish showcases it perfectly! The sun dried tomatoes do a great job cutting the richness of the pasta, yet pair really well alongside the smoky flavor of the cheese. The fresh parsley at the end adds a little brightness to the whole dish and takes the flavors to the next level.
Best types of pasta to use:
I LOVE to use cavatappi in this recipe. I like the spiral shape and the way the sauce clings to every nook and cranny. I prefer to use smaller cuts of pasta (as opposed to spaghetti or fettuccine noodles) for my Mac and cheese recipes.
Why this recipe is written with 2% milk OR heavy cream:
- With a toddler at home, I pretty much always have a gallon of 2% milk in the fridge, but I don't always have a carton of heavy cream. I prefer this recipe with 1 cup of heavy cream, but I also realize that it's not always realistic to make a special trip to the store just for ONE ingredient. So, use whatever you've got on hand. If you've got cream, add 1 cup. If you've got 2% milk, add ¾ of a cup.
- I wouldn't recommend making this smoked Gouda mac and cheese with 1% or skim milk however as there just isn't enough fat in those to do the job that's necessary here.
Do I have to use smoked Gouda?
- Not necessarily...but I highly recommend that you do! Any melty cheese would work fine but a smoked cheese is preferred for this dish. Smoked mozzarella works great too if you can't find Gouda!
- If you haven't tried smoked cheeses before, this is a great recipe to try them in. The smokiness of the cheese gives this dish a meaty flavor without the addition of any meat. It's a great way to please the carnivores in your life while still enjoying vegetarian meals.
Tips for making the best smoked Gouda mac and cheese:
- If you have picky eaters, use a food processor or sharp knife to mince the sun dried tomatoes into tiny pieces before adding them to the pasta. This will make them blend in more easily with the sauce which will make them less noticeable to the kiddos.
- Taste your noodles throughout the cooking process. Noodles can go from perfectly al dente to mushy and gummy in a quick minute. Be sure to snag a noodle here and there while you're pasta is cooking so you can pull it off the heat as soon as the noodles are cooked through but still have a toothsome bite.
- If your noodles are not cooked al dente yet but the sauce is reducing too much, feel free to add a splash of milk or cream throughout the cooking process. You're looking for a thick, creamy sauce that really coats every nook and cranny of the noodle.
- Keep in mind that the sauce will thicken a bit as it cools so you may need to add a splash of milk or cream even after the pasta has finished cooking just to keep things loose.
- Season. Season. Season. With an ingredient list this short, salt and pepper will need to be used liberally to really elevate the simple flavors of this smoked Gouda mac and cheese.
What to serve with one pot pasta:
- Olive Oil & Balsamic Bread Dip
- Herb & Tomato Focaccia Bread
- Baked Goat Cheese Salad
- Fall Harvest Kale Salad
And honestly most of the time, I just pour myself a big glass of wine, sit down with a fork and call this pot of pasta dinner!
Other one pot wonders your family will love:
- One Pot Mac and Cheese
- 17 Best Mac and Cheese Recipes
- One Pot Lemon, Garlic & Asparagus Rigatoni
- One Pot Sausage & Sun Dried Tomato Pasta
- One Pot Mushroom Stroganoff
- One Pot Fettuccine Alfredo
- One Pot Mediterranean Pasta
This post was originally published in November of 2018. It was updated in June of 2019 to include process shots, step-by-step instructions and tips for making the best smoked Gouda mac and cheese every single time!