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Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese

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If you were following my tweets over the month of December or you’re one of my other social networking peeps, you probably heard some smoky, cheesy chatter coming from my digital lair. I’m, of course, referring to my Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese, a little dish I was perfecting over the holidays and am now feeling pretty good about. For those of you who are hearing about this for the first time… yes it tastes exactly as you’re imagining. So if you dig Smoked Gouda the way I do, get ready to have your socks AND your pants blown off of your body… cause I’m about to give you the recipe.

First I gotta give props where props are due. I actually got the original version of the recipe from an old friend that I reconnected with on Facebook. Viv and I attended a magnet school for media arts almost 20 years ago! Crazy. That was back when I thought I would pursue a career in design and illustration. And who knows where that may have led me… perhaps to sleepless nights designing 3D storyboards for James Gunn. Yeah, who knows.

Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese

Anyway, she’s a super gifted artist with an impressive portfolio of work in digital effects. And apparently, over the past two decades, she’s been collecting some tasty recipes. So I convinced her to present one to me… as a sort of reunion gift. Yeah, I was like, “Hey!! Wow!!! It’s been so long!!! Got anything awesome for me?!” The answer was a resounding, SMOKED GOUDA MAC AND CHEESE. And so now I pass this gift unto you… with a few modifications.

Okay let’s get started.

You’ll Need:

  • 4 1/2 tablespoons of salted butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound of elbow macaroni (Warning: DO NOT use another kind of pasta without changing the name of this recipe first)
  • 1/2 pound smoked Gouda cheese, grated (please please please grate the cheese before you start. It took me three attempts before I learned this the hard way.)

Makes enough to feed 8-10 people little cup size servings, or 2 people big selfish servings. You know how much a bag of noodles makes. How many people do you usually serve with that? Remember, this is smoked gouda mac and cheese and people will want to eat the hell out of that, so you might need to keep your dinner guests down to a modest number of two or less.

Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese Recipe

STEP 1:
Get yourself a saucepan about the size that college students use to make spaghetti. You know, the kind where you have to break the spaghetti in half in order to fit it. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Yes, I said four… what, do you have a problem with butter? Okay, good, so now add the 4 tablespoons of flour and start whisking it constantly for about 2 minutes or so.

STEP 2:
Now slowly add the 4 cups of milk, stirring constantly. I kinda take the risotto approach here and just add little bits at a time. And DON’T use soymilk… seriously don’t. Unless you want your smoked gouda mac and cheese to taste kind of like a peanut butter sandwich just… don’t. And I’d rather not talk about how I know this. I’ll just say: if you’re lactose intolerant or vegan you probably shouldn’t even be making this.

Okay, so I’ve done this thing 4 times now, and whenever I finish stirring in the milk, I freak out about the porportion. It always looks more like soup than sauce at this point… but I just take a deep breath, trust the recipe, and it turns out okay… so be not afraid. It will eventually get thicker, I promise. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper. You want the milk to come to a light boil as you continue to stir, taking care not to burn it. You’ll know the smell if it does, believe me.

STEP 3:
At this point, I like to start the noodles so that they can be finished cooking around the same time as the sauce. But it’s tricky, cause you have to keep your eye on the sauce and maintain some level of stirring… otherwise it’ll burn.

I’ve already combined 6 cups of water, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and a few drops of veggie oil in a large, heavy pot… the kind grown-ups use to cook spaghetti. Now all I have to do is bring it… to a boil.

Add the macaroni and cook. You’ll need to stir the macs every once in a while. Dudes like me don’t always recognize the value of stirring noodles while they cook. Takes a few macaroni bricks before we wise up. Set your timer for 8 minutes, and let’s turn our attention back to the sauce.

STEP 4:
Continue whisking the sauce until the noodles are done. Turn the heat down on the sauce to very low and take this opportunity to quickly drain your noodles. The sauce will still seem too soupy, but it should be at least a bit thicker… or at least frothier.

STEP 5:
Okaaaayyy!! Now the cheesy part. Start stirring in the cheese slowly. Bits at a time so that it’s easier to melt. Keep stirring until it’s pretty smooth. Doesn’t need to be like silk, just even.

Thicker sauce huh? Told ya.

STEP 6:
Now combine the cheese sauce and macaroni in a large mixing bowl or pot. Stir like mad, getting the sauce into every nook and cranny. It should be a gooey, creamy, nasty little mixture. We in the smoked Gouda mac and cheese business call that smoked Gouda mac and cheese.

So at this point… I say eat it.

I say. eat. that. mac!

But I realize not everyone is like me. There are some people out there that like to bake a crust on the top of their mac and cheese. They think it’s “cool” for their cheese sauce to get dryer and a layer of mac to get harder.

Yeah… I once ran in those circles. I know what that’s like.

OPTIONAL SMOKED GOUDA MAC AND CHEESE STEP THAT I NO LONGER ENDORSE:
If this is something you feel you really, really… really need to do… well, I can’t stop you. So I guess, I’ll just try to make sure you don’t get hurt.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees around the time the noodles were placed in the water. Lightly grease a large enough casserole dish with 1/2 a teaspoon of butter (WHAT?!). Pour your prepared mac and cheese into the dish and bake it until it gets golden on top. About 15 to 25 minutes depending on the stove and how high you place it on the rack.

Garnish it with whatever… parsley… chives… cocaine.

Those who give this smoked gouda mac and cheese a shot, I’d love to know what you think. Did you follow the recipe exact? Did you experiement? Have a recipe for me? Gib es mir!

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33 Comments

  1. I love smoked gouda and gooey mac & cheese so this looks great! I will have to try this!

  2. That is the single longest recipe I’ve ever read.

  3. Hey! you definitelly took the time to perfect the recipe to work for you! haha love your steps on how to get it done. :)

    I agree with you, I preffer my mac without the baking it in the oven step, but alas.. since most people like it i usually cook to please the masses.

    Also, if you have leftovers.. the best way to bring back that delicious silky cheesy heaven back, is to put it in a pot and add some milk.. let it heat up and stir.. keep adding milk until you are happy with the creaminess. I like adding a little bit of parsley flakes at the end and stir in.. just a nice plating tip! :)

    Also, this dish goes well with red wine, such as cabernet, merlot, syrah or pinot. :)

    if you wanna add some attitude to the dish with the wine, you can go to World Market and get a FIFE L’attitude bottle.. runs you about $15 but it has a nice kick to pair with your silky cheese heaven bowl! ;D

    oh and thanks for all the props, though i dont think it has been 20 yrs yet since we graduated!!

  4. Might have to try this, John. But I’ll use Edam instead, or maybe unsmoked Gouda. Two of my favorite cheeses.

  5. Damn you!!!!

    I am stuck in a hotel for the next 3 days and can’t cook, but I know what I am making as soon as I get home!

  6. Aimee, admit it though… cheesiest too?

    Viv, I agree. A nice red goes amazing with this smokey treat. I’d do a Pinot.

  7. Have you tried it with smoked paprika and/or nutmeg? Nutmeg is the secret to my mac & cheese.

    I have done one with smoked gouda too (love it). But it’s usually an assortment of “whatever cheese is in the fridge”, hopefully one of which is sharp enough to add taste.

  8. Yes, definitely the cheesiest. You did write it, after all. OH! Snappity.

  9. Thanks John,
    we will definitely be trying this out over the weekend. Cin is absolutely mad crazy for the mac.
    A guy I work with has another mac & cheese recipe that I’ll be sure to share with you if we ever get ourselves to LA. Its got truffle oil & a variety of ‘high-brow’ cheeses (also not recommended for those intolerant to the oh so yummy lactose).
    Cheers

  10. Oh, I’m all about the ‘high-brow’ cheeses. I’m also about the ‘low-brow’. But what I really love is bringing the high and the low together. Like for example, mixing a standard kraft cheese powder with a fine cave aged swiss gruyere.

  11. Okay, first of all, I laughed out loud multiple times while reading that.

    Second, that may be the most detailed recipe I’ve ever read.

    Third, I am absolutely going to make this as soon as I’m done trying to lose 10 lbs. by next weekend for band photos.

    Well done!

  12. That sounds like it would be enough for…me.

    Definitely how I make the mac/cheese even with regular cheddar, making a rue/sauce first and then eating it out of the pot. YUM!

  13. Kate, LOL.

    ALLTHEWINE, It’s all about that sauce. Even cooking it another 10 minutes longer than I state in the recipe will only make it more awesome.

  14. Smoked gouda? So fancy! I will most definitely be trying this recipe provided our backward British supermarkets stock such a refined product. I love how much effort has gone into this. Thanks!

  15. Being a mac-n-cheeze lover, I’m gonna have to try this one. Will let you know how it turns out. I’ve got a crack pot, I mean crock pot, recipe for mac-n-cheeze if you want to try it out. Now that’s some
    gooooooood mac-n-cheeze. Drool. Drool.

    K, back to drinking my morning coffee.

  16. As John pointed out, perhaps some of you would also be interested in this linguine recipe…

    Here is a linguine dish for you to try if you like brie cheese. I do not have a name for it, so you can be creative with that part if you wish. It’s also a visually pleasing dish too. :) (Take note, you need to prepare part of this in advance)

    (Serves 4-6 people)

    4 Ripe, large tomatoes, cut into bite-size chunks
    1 pound brie cheese, rind removed, torn into irregular pieces
    1 cup cleaned, fresh basil leaves, cut into strips
    3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
    1 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil (preferably double or triple squeezed virgin oil; the darker the oil, the better it is)
    2 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 1/2 pounds linguine
    Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

    Step 1:
    Combine tomatoes, brie, basil, garlic, 1 cup olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, and the pepper in a large serving bowl. Prepare this part at least 2 hours before serving and set aside, covered, at room temperature.

    Step 2:
    Bring pot of water to a boil and add 1 Tbs. olive oil, the remaining salt and the linguine. Boil until tender but firm (al dente)

    Step 3:
    Drain pasta and immediately toss with the tomato-brie-basil mixture. Serve immediately. You can sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if you like.

    Enjoy!

  17. Vanessa, that sounds delicious!

    She can’t be the only one with a great recipe.

    Oh by the way, along the lines of Arieanna’s suggestion to use nutmeg in the mac & cheese, someone on Twitter suggested adding mustard powder. Both sound like they could be pretty awesome.

  18. Ok, I do admit I add mustard powder as well as the nutmeg.
    :)

  19. Mac and cheese should not have a dry baked crust… it should be nice and gooey. mmm…

  20. I make this same mac and cheese recipe, but with a nice brie. It’s insanely good.

    Also, if you have people who like a crispy edge on any mac and cheese recipe, there’s an easy way to do it without drying it out: either increase the milk in the recipe a bit, or use less pasta. That way it can crisp up on top and stay nice and cheesy all at the same time!

  21. Ok, if you like the Mac-n-Cheese recipe, and you like rich cheesy, buttery things, then you might like this recipe for Shrimp and Grits.
    Ingredients:
    1 stick of butter
    1 cup instant grits
    1 cup bacon pieces (you can make your own, but I use the real bacon pieces from the salad dressing aisle)(1 package)
    2 cups shredded cheese ( you can play with this here) ( I like the Cheddar/M Jack combo) (I usually use what I have)
    1 batch of Green Onions (chopped)
    @ 35 Med. sized shrimp ( I use the Raw, Frozen, No tail in the freezer section) (just thaw before cooking)
    A dash of salt and pepper
    1/2 tablespoon minced garlic

    Directions:
    In a sauce pan bring 4 cups of water to a boil. This is where you add that dash of salt and pepper and half a stick of butter. Once it is boiling, add the grits. You might think you need more grits, but you don’t. Trust the box. Reduce heat to medium and stir so the grits won’t stick. Keep stirring until they have thickened up. It just takes about 5 minutes. It will be an oatmeal consistency. Remove from heat. Add your cheese, and stir it in. The heat from the grits will melt the cheese. Cover and set aside.
    In a skillet type contraption, place everything that is left, but the shrimp. (The other half of the stick of butter, the onions, the garlic, and the bacon). Sautee these items for a few minutes on med hi heat until the butter melts. Now add the shrimp and cook about 3-5 minutes until shrimp are pink.
    Now pour the skillet contents into the sauce pan with the grits, stir it up and enjoy. This recipe can feed about 4 people normal sized servings no left overs. If you have all your ingredients ready, this whole process should take no more than 20 minutes. Quick and easy, and will make you full for a week. Warning: This recipe WILL clog your arteries, but is delicious. Like my idol, Paula Deen always says,* I’m ya cook, notcha docta*.

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  24. This recipe looks amazing and I’m looking forward to trying it. Following in the cheesy-pasta tradition, may I recommend this recipe for Asparagus-Pesto Lasagna. I wish I could take credit for it, but I actually found it in the April 2006 issue of Vegetarian Times magazine, and although this was in a vegetarian magazine, like the Mac & Cheese, it also wouldn’t be good for vegans (sorry).

    Asparagus-Pesto Lasagna

    Ingredients
    1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    3 1/2 cups low-fat milk, divided
    6 Tbs. pesto*, or more to taste
    2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for garnish, optional
    1 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
    2 tsp. olive oil
    1 1/4 lb. asparagus spears, tips cut off and reserved, spears trimmed and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
    1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp.)
    16 no-cook lasagna noodles (9 oz.)
    2 cups shredded Fontina or part-skim mozzarella cheese (8 oz.), divided

    * Look for the freshest, most flavorful pesto in the refrigerator section of the supermarket, packaged in vacuum-sealed bags or in plastic tubs.

    Directions
    1. Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk flour and 1/2 cup milk in saucepan until smooth. Gradually whisk in remaining milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, and boil 1 minute, or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in pesto, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Reserve 1 cup white sauce.
    2. Warm oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped asparagus (not tips) and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes, or until tender. Add garlic; cook, stirring, 1 minute, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
    3. Coat 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place layer of noodles in dish, overlapping slightly. Layer with half of cooked asparagus, 3/4 cup Fontina and half of sauce. Add another layer of pasta, remaining sauce, remaining cooked asparagus and 3/4 cup Fontina. Top with layer of noodles, then with reserved 1 cup white sauce. Arrange reserved asparagus tips over top and sprinkle with remaining Fontina.
    4. Bake, uncovered, 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden. Let stand 10 minutes; serve with additional grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

    Enjoy!

  25. im a little late getting this to you, you can easily omit the figs if you dont care for them & sub just about any combo of cheeses.

    Parisienne Mac

    By Sarita Ekya (owner, S’MAC)

    2/3 lb elbow macaroni (yield: 4 cups cooked)
    1 ¼ cups whole milk
    1 ¼ TB all-purpose flour
    1 ¼ TB unsalted butter
    4 oz brie (rind removed), diced
    2 oz muenster, shredded
    2 oz pecorino romano, shredded
    2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
    4 tbsp dried figs, diced
    8 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
    Kosher salt
    freshly ground black pepper
    ¾ cup provolone, shredded
    ¼ cup breadcrumbs

    1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.

    2. Saute the shiitake mushrooms in olive oil for approximately 5 minutes (until softened). Add salt and pepper to taste.

    3. Place the figs on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Place in the oven (at 400° F) and roast for 2 minutes – they should be starting to caramelize when you remove from the oven. Be careful not to overcook as they will burn.

    4. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and cook the pasta until al dente, 8 – 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water. Place in a large mixing bowl. Add a touch of olive oil and toss lightly.

    5. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil. Remove from heat.

    6. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the flour, cooking for 3-4 minutes. Be careful not to brown the mixture. Slowly add the hot milk, whisking constantly (this will ensure that there are no lumps).

    7. Add the brie, muenster and pecorino romano cheeses. Stir frequently, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is slightly thickened. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

    8. Remove from the heat and stir in the shiitake mushrooms, roasted figs and fresh rosemary. Pour the mixture over the pasta and mix thoroughly. Transfer to a baking dish.

    9. Combine the ¾ cup shredded provolone and ¼ breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the macaroni.

    10. Bake for approximately 10 – 15 minutes at 400° F.

    Yield: approximately 3-4 servings

  26. This looks great but I am confused about the amount of mac in the recipe. Is it one pound of mac cooked?… about how much dry uncooked mac is it that is called for?

  27. Oh no, it’s not a pound of cooked mac. I’m describing a pound of dried mac. And typically macaroni is sold in 1lb packages. Let me know how it goes!

  28. Ok so this recipe sounds devine. I have been planning on making a smoked gouda mac and cheese for awhile now but wanted to try a different recipe than i normally make. I totally agree with not baking it… I hate that. Its gotta be gooey and creamy.

    I will be adding prosciutto and spinach to mine. You should so try this its delicious.

    You say you should use a lb of mac. How many cups is that translated into. I buy all my pasta in bulk not in packages???

  29. I’m not sure actually. I’ll crack open a 1lb package and measure it for you. Not sure if I have any mac right now, but as soon as I do, I’ll let you know. I’m sure somewhere on the internet someone has figured it out.

    Thanks for the tip. I’m a vegetarian, but I love the idea of adding some spinach!

  30. John
    Next time, spread in casserole dish, sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded parmesan on top; bake in oven at 375 for 20 minutes; meanwhile chop a Granny Smith apple (or two) into small pieces; after baking M&C 20 minutes, sprinkle the apple on top and return to bake 5 minutes. Serve immediately. Yumm!

  31. Late to the game, but great recipe! Added sharp cheddar, tartufal, truffle oil and Damn!

  32. Just made this, but used half smoked Gouda and half Muenster(my favorite), and it’s delicious!! Thanks!

  33. My pleasure. That old recipe still gets a lot milage in people’s lives. :) And Muenster – yum.

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