Mac & Cheese Monday: Sauce (SF)

cheese production-1

Sauce was also part of the mac & cheese crawl i put together for my friends. I was looking forward to to trying Sauce partly because of the innovative cocktails they are known for but also because I heard their mac and cheese was really good.

Every cheese producer should cheer up!

Sauce Mac & Cheese

This was a very healthy portion in the “Social Plates” portion of the menu. And you better be social and have at least 4 other friends helping you with this sucker. On the menu it is listed as ” Baked Mac & Cheese Four Cheese Sauce, Ham Hock, Herbs with Chunks of Tillamook Cheddar & Gruyere Crust” ($10). On my receipt it says “Mini Mac” – I really don’t want to see a “Big Mac” from these guys – I’d be scared.

The cheese sauce was fantastic. Creamy, rich, not a hint of lumpiness or graininess. According to Chef Ben Paula, the sauce starts with half cream and half milk. He then piles in mozzarella, provolone, P.R., and asiago.  To that sauce, Chef adds fresh pasta shells from The Pasta Shop, ham hock, green onion, and parsley.

Once that comes together the mini casserole dish gets topped with chunks of Tillamook cheddar and a slice of Gruyere and some butter and herb bread crumbs.  Then into the broiler to brown and a quick shot in the oven to melt the Tillamook and give everything a chance to set it. Phew – thanks for all the hard work Chef Ben Paula!

The Gruyere definitely added a slight earthiness which helped to balance the richness and abundance of the sauce. The crunch was nice too. The herbs really lightened up the sauce and added a depth of flavor that is often missing in “classic” mac and cheeses.

The noodles were shells – the small kind and cooked just past al dente – perfecto! Again, I love shells because they can hold a tiny pool of delicious sauce that bursts onto your palate as you chew – quite lovely.

There were little bits of ham mixed throughout that gave a nice chew and heft to the dish. This is definitely in my top 3 mac and cheeses in San Francisco.

~cheese, what a sweet temptress you are!

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