Prepare to get sauced—on Blue Plate’s macaroni and drunken Spanish goat cheese. The Bernal Heights restaurant celebrated 15 years in the biz last year, and their famous gooey side dish has been around since the very beginning. “In 1999, fancy mac and cheese wasn’t quite as common on casual fine dining menus like ours,” says co-owner Jeff Trenam. Despite plenty of competition these days, Blue Plate still reigns supreme in this classic category. The secret, as the name suggests, is the Murcia al Vino—cheese that’s made from wild-herb-grazing Spanish goats and encased in a wine-washed rind that adds an unexpected fruity nuance to the dish.
Macaroni and drunken Spanish goat cheese
Serves 10 to 12
1-pound box dry macaroni elbows
9½ cups whole milk
36 ounces heavy cream
4 ounces unsalted butter
7 ounces all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch of nutmeg
2 teaspoons Tabasco
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pound + 6 ounces sharp white Vermont Cabot cheddar, grated
6 ounces grated drunken Spanish goat cheese (Murcia al Vino)
4 ounces grated Grana Padano cheese
2 cups dry sourdough bread crumbs
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Boil 6 quarts of lightly salted water, add macaroni elbows, and cook until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.
3. Heat milk and heavy cream in a large pot over low heat.
4. Make roux: Add butter to a medium-sized pot, and heat over low heat. When butter is melted, slowly incorporate flour, stirring constantly. Mix until smooth, smells a little like toasted nuts, and has a golden color.
5. Slowly add the warm milk–and–cream mix to the roux. Whisk or use an immersion blender to make a smooth béchamel sauce.
6. When smooth, turn off the heat and add mustard, nutmeg, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce.
7. Fold in the grated cheddar and goat cheeses, and season to taste. Save the grated Grana Padano for later use.
8. In the macaroni pot or a large bowl, fold seasoned cheese sauce into cooked macaroni.
9. Put in a 12 by 9-inch, 3-quart baking dish, and top with grated Grana Padano and bread crumbs. Bake for about 15 minutes or until top is crispy and golden brown.