Mac and cheese has to be up there as one of the best comfort foods of all time! Anytime a gourmet mac and cheese is on the menu at a restaurant, you better believe I will order it! And this version makes you feel like you are dining at an upscale steakhouse, but without the pretentiousness! This Gorgonzola Apple Walnut Mac and Cheese is so creamy with apples, walnuts, and prosciutto to balance all the earthy flavors of the cheese.
How to Make the Creamiest Mac and Cheese
Achieving that super creamy sauce is probably the most important part of a good mac and cheese recipe. For mac and cheese, if the sauce breaks, then the taste matters a lot less. So in this case it’s the technique in the sauce along with the combination of cheeses to give it that ultra creamy consistency.
The technique isn’t hard at all, just a basic béchamel (a combo of roux and milk) that helps stabilize the sauce when the cheeses are added. I’m sure you’ve seen a mac and cheese that has experienced that curdled and broken tragedy that can occur when blistering heat is added to unstable cheeses. Béchamel is the moderator in a good mac and cheese, helping the sauce to stay creamy and perfect.
Let's Talk About the Cheese
The types of cheeses here are primarily chosen for the amazing taste they lend to the dish. Especially the gorgonzola. Generally, gorgonzola is somewhat mild when compared to most “blue” cheeses, but mild doesn’t mean less complex. The flavors are creamy and match well with the fontina and white cheddar. This trio creates a nice, creamy sauce to coat the pasta perfectly.
Apples and Walnuts???
Apples, prosciutto and walnuts are absolutely amazing together, so why not add it to a mac and cheese? Exactly. The apples should be of the tart variety, we aren’t looking to make this a dessert! But even granny smith apples are a little sweet, and when they dance with the blue cheese and prosciutto, you get a grand gala of flavors that work really well, albeit in an uncommon way. The crunch of the walnuts is a nice addition to a dish that usually doesn't have a ton of texture.
Using Homemade Cavatelli
We will always suggest that you make your own pasta, and mac and cheese is no exception! For this, we prefer to use a homemade pasta and shape it into cavatelli with ridges using a gnocchi board. The cavatelli shape holds the sauce really nicely and we cannot get over the texture of this shape! You can find our a video HERE of how we make this shape, and check out our Homemade Pasta Recipes post for our multipurpose pasta recipe.
If you aren't into the homemade pasta making life, then any pasta shape that can hold the creamy sauce will work well in this dish.
We hope you enjoy this recipe for Gorgonzola Apple Walnut Mac and Cheese. If you give it a try, leave us a comment below or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!
Looking for more recipes like this? Check out some of these:
- Roasted Poblano and Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese
- Veal and Beef Shepherd’s Pie
- Pork and Shiitake Mushroom Ragù
- Beer Braised Short Ribs
- Smoked Gouda and Porcini Mushroom Polenta
Looking for more Italian recipe inspo?
If you want even more Italian-inspired recipes, check out our cookbook, Mangiamo, filled with 60 original recipes!
Gorgonzola Apple Walnut Mac and Cheese
- 4 cups (about 1 lb) dried cavatelli, elbow noodle, shells or pasta shape of choice
- 1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and medium diced (about 150g diced)
- 3 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, divided
- 3 tablespoon (28g) all-purpose flour
- 2 cups (½ L) whole milk
- Small pinch ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- ⅓ cup (40g) mild white cheddar, grated
- ⅓ cup (40g) fontina cheese, grated
- ⅓ cup (60g) gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup (30g) walnuts, chopped
- 1 oz prosciutto (approximately 4 slices)
- Bring a large pot filled ¾ full of water to a boil for the pasta. While waiting for the water to boil, cook the apples.
- In a frying pan over medium heat, add the chopped walnuts and toast lightly for about 3 minutes. Remove and set aside. To the same pan, add the slices of prosciutto one at a time and allow to crisp for about 10-15 seconds a side. Remove and rough chop, then set aside.
- Wipe out the pan, then return to medium heat and melt 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (18g) butter until the bubbling has stopped. Once butter has melted, add diced apples and toss in the butter to coat. Cook for 2 minutes until just soften on the outside, then remove the apples from the pan and set aside.
- Once the pot of water boils, add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta. If making store-bought dry pasta, cook following the package directions until al dente. If making homemade cavatelli, cook the pasta for 6-7 minutes until they float and are al dente. Remove cavatelli using a slotted spoon to a colander and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil to prevent sticking. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water in case the sauce needs to be thinned later.
- Next, in a large pot over medium heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoon butter (28g) until it foams. Add the flour and stir frequently for a few minutes. The flour should not brown, but it should cook in the butter, forming a white roux. After a few minutes, whisk in the milk, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Turn the heat to medium-high and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Once it lightly starts to boil, it will begin to thicken. At this point, turn the heat down to low and add the cheese, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the cheese has completely melted.
- Add the pasta and reserved apples to the pot and stir to combine. If necessary (the sauce is too thick), add a little of the reserved pasta water. Once combined, serve with the prosciutto and walnuts as garnish.
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