Is there anything better in this world than the ultimate of ultimate comfort foods??? We are talking mac and cheese here! It's ooey, gooey, creamy, lay on the couch in your sweat pants delicious, with alllllll the carbs and cheesy goodness! And this Roasted Poblano and Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese will fill your soul with cheesy happiness!
This homemade mac and cheese has converted even the most notorious of mac and cheese haters (cough *Mark* cough). Do you like cheese? Then you will love it. Do you like pasta? Then you will love it. Do you like a little spice in your life? Make this, you will love it!
Our Version of Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese
In our version, we add mascarpone and white cheddar. We love this combination of cheeses and the mascarpone adds to the creamy, gooey texture of the cheese sauce. Additionally, we add a variety of seasonings and roasted poblanos that complement the combination of cheeses and give this mac a bit of a kick!
Are Poblanos Spicy?
If you have never had poblano peppers before, you are truly missing out on one of the tastiest peppers out there. Poblanos rank fairly mild to medium when it comes to heat, so mainly what you get in this recipe is a wonderful flavor without your mouth catching on fire. On the Scoville Scale, poblano peppers range from 1000-2000 Scoville Heat Units. Whereas, jalapeños for comparison range from 2500-8000.
How Spicy is this Dish?
We love our spicy foods here, but this dish doesn't rank too high on the spicy scale.
If the spicy scale was 0 (not spicy) to 10 (mouth on fire), we would rank this dish as a 3-4. This lands in the mild spice category for us, but still enough heat to make you feel a bit warm.
Can I make this mac and cheese less spicy?
If you aren't into anything spicy, you can still try this recipe with a few modifications.
For less heat, try the following:
- Cut out the cayenne out of the recipe altogether
- Use 1-2 poblanos instead of 4. You will still get a good amount of flavor with this modification, but you won't have as many pieces of pepper throughout the dish
- Cut both the cayenne and poblanos - this obviously changes this recipe into a regular Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese, which we have made for others who wanted a plain mac dish and loved it.
- Cajun Seasonings have a little heat, but vary quite a bit from one brand to the next. So if you find one you like, stick to that. Our homemade version is likely slightly hotter than common store-bought brands.
We hope you enjoy this recipe for Roasted Poblano and Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese! Let us know your thoughts in comments and make sure you tag us on Instagram when you make it @cooking_with_wine.
If you like this recipe, check out some of our other popular comfort food recipes below:
- Crunchy Chicken with White Wine Lemon Butter Sauce
- Homemade Garlic Fries
- Italian-Style Meatloaf
- Roasted Zucchini and Tomato Pasta
- Veal and Beef Shepherd’s Pie
Poblano Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese
- 4 cups dry cavatelli, macaroni or pasta shape of choice (or 1 recipe Multipurpose Pasta Dough shaped into cavatelli)
- 4 poblano peppers
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¼ cup flour - all purpose
- 2¼ cups heavy cream
- 2 tsps mustard powder
- ¼ cup mascarpone
- ⅓ cup smoked gouda
- ⅓ cup aged white cheddar
- ⅓ cup sharp cheddar
- 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning (view our homemade version HERE)
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup panko bread crumps
- Cut poblanos into 1 inch wide strips, discarding seeds and stem.
- Place strips skin side up on a baking sheet.
- Broil on high for 6-10 minutes or until the skins are mostly black. Check every 2 minutes to make sure the skins don't get too dark. Remove from oven and let cool for 2 minutes, then place the strips in a ziplock bag for 5 minutes.
- Once cool, remove skins and finely chop. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoon salt to boiling water then reduce heat slightly so that the water is barely boiling. Add pasta to pot and cook for 75% of the total time stated on the package (the pasta will cook through in the oven). Remove to a strainer. If your pasta begins to stick together, drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 350°
- In a large pot, begin by making a bechamel sauce as follows: Melt butter over medium heat, then slowly add the flour while whisking constantly. Cook until smooth and mixture begins to smell nutty and slightly colors. Turn down heat as needed to prevent the mixture from gaining too much color. The goal is to make a blonde roux here.
- Reduce heat to low and slowly add the cream and continue to whisk constantly until all cream has been added and the mixture is smooth. Then whisk in mustard powder.
- Cook for approximately 5 minutes or until the bechamel has thickened to a paste-like consistency. If your bechamel becomes too thick, you can add a little water to thin it out, but it should be fairly thick yet still creamy. You can always add water later in the process after the cheese is added. Keep beschamel warm on low heat.
- Add mascarpone and the 3 grated cheeses. Stir until melted completely and combined. Turn heat up to medium to assist in melting the cheese if needed. If you notice that the mixture is not creamy at this point, add a small amount of water to thin it out. You should have a very creamy, thick sauce at this point.
- Add all remaining seasonings and roasted chopped poblanos. Taste and add additional seasonings or salt to taste if needed.
- Add cooked pasta to cheese sauce, and stir to combine. Transfer to a large baking dish (we use a 7'x11' rectangular dish or a 9'x9' square dish), then sprinkle the top with bread crumbs.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce just begins to bubble on the sides. Be careful not to bake for too long or the sauce could separate.
- Finally, move the dish to the top rack of the oven and broil on high for 1 minute or until the bread crumbs look golden brown and nicely toasted.
- Once done, remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.