The original plan was to B-line through northern Wisconsin, driving due west toward the Minnesota lakes and forests. But the idea of passing through America's Dairyland without sampling some cheese curds was killing me, so we took a hard left and headed to the nearest farm. We emerged eight hours later, our stomachs aching and our mini fridge spilling over with cheese.
In addition to the three bags of squeaky cheese curds (which quickly disappeared), the cheese fudge (oooommmmmgggggg), and the cinnamon apple cheddar (I mean, we had to), we also grabbed an enormous log of gouda to make one of my favorite macaroni and cheese recipes.
We waited a few days, until our bodies had recovered from lactose-shock, but in a lovely, riverside campsite in northern Minnesota, we fired up the camp stove and grated that gouda goodness. This recipe is from the ever-inspiring Molly Yeh and combines all of my favorite things: summer fruit, Greek yogurt, and lots of cheese. With the addition of yogurt, you could call this a “lightened up” mac and cheese, but that would be ignoring the toddler-sized mound of fresh gouda I mixed in. Life’s about balance, right?
Molly’s original recipe starts out with prosciutto, and that’s the way I’ve always made it at home. On the road, though, I am very aware of our limited fridge space (cheese, not withstanding) and food budget, and I’m happy to report that it’s just as good without the meat.
Peach (and Van) Gouda Mac and Cheese
4 ounces prosciutto, chopped (this can easily be omitted, and the recipe is still delicious)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 white onion, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 yellow peaches, peeled and chopped
1 pound pasta of choice
3 cups shredded Wisconsin gouda cheese (you can probably reduce this, if you aren’t buying excess amounts of wholesale cheese, straight from the farm)
1½ cups plain Greek yogurt (I prefer full fat, but whatever type you like)
If adding prosciutto, cook it in a large skillet, over medium high heat, until crispy. Remove from pan and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium/low and melt butter. Add the sliced onion and generously season with salt and pepper. Cook until very soft and browning, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once the onion is wilted and golden, add the peaches and prosciutto. Cook for about five more minutes to let the peaches release their juices. Set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the directions. When you drain the noodles, reserve a bit of the water.
In a large bowl, combine the cheese and yogurt, mixing well. Fold in the hot pasta and peach/onion mixture. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of the reserved pasta water to loosen it. Top with some more cheese and dig in!