Chipotle-Smoked-Gouda-Macaroni-and-Cheese6Sometimes I make something so pretty I don’t want to eat it.

That feeling lasts approximately 15 minutes… or as long as it takes me to rattle off around 50 photos with the ol’ iPhone.

Chipotle-Smoked-Gouda-Macaroni-and-Cheese3Speaking of photos…. you can blame them for my lack of blogging existence last week. Extreme panic doesn’t even begin to explain the feeling I had while frantically archiving 14,500+ images from my computer to ensure the photographic evidence of my adorable offspring (and culinary masterpieces) were safe from an inevitable crash.

I. Was. Stressed. Out.

But now I’m back. Armed with a backup drive, a shiny new library of DVDs, and my completely rejuvenated iMac. All is right in my world.

Last week, before my panic attack ensued, I posted an informal survey on Facebook asking what recipe you, my adoring fans, would like to see next. I felt really bad about leaving you hanging… seriously, I did.

So without further delay, I bring you…

Chipotle Smoked Gouda Mac n’ Cheese
(makes 4 – 6 servings)
16 oz elbow pasta
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp flour
2 chipotle peppers (seeds removed, super finely chopped)
2 tsp adobo sauce (from the can of peppers)
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded smoked gouda cheese
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp unsalted butter (melted)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the pasta in heavily salted water to al dente, then drain and set aside. (Do not rinse the pasta. Rinsing washes away all of the precious remaining cooking liquid that actually helps your sauce stick to the cooked noodles.)

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for around five minutes, stirring continuously. Add in the chopped chipotle peppers with the additional adobo sauce and whisk to combine. Stir in the milk and cream, and simmer for ten minutes. Add the shredded cheese and stir to melt until smooth and creamy.

Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to evenly coat. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to a large casserole dish (or individual 7 ounce ramekins set on a parchment lined sheet pan) and set aside.


In a small bowl, combine the panko, salt, paprika, cumin, garlic powder and cayenne then add in the melted butter, and stir to combine with a fork. Top the macaroni and cheese with the spiced panko mixture…

Chipotle-Smoked-Gouda-Macaroni-and-Cheese10Chipotle-Smoked-Gouda-Macaroni-and-Cheese7and bake in the preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the cheese is ooey-gooey bubbling…

Chipotle-Smoked-Gouda-Macaroni-and-Cheese5This was seriously some of the best macaroni and cheese I’ve ever eaten. And I’ve eaten A LOT of mac n’ cheese.

The sauce is rich and creamy, with just enough smokey spice to leave a lingering heat on the back of your tongue. And cooking each serving in an individual ramekin also meant that every single bite had a crunchy, smokey textural compliment of panko crust. Chipotle-Smoked-Gouda-Macaroni-and-Cheese4

Easy on the palette, and on the eyes… and it happened to be the perfect time of day for lighting, so I just kept taking pictures. It was like some sort of perverted food porn session. I felt like George Costanza in “The Blood” episode. Only I was shoveling forkfuls of spicy, cheesy pasta in my mouth instead of pastrami sandwich.

TMI? Come on, admit it. You know you missed me. 🙂