Thursday, August 29, 2013

Smoky Mac & Cheese

Smoky Mac & Cheese modernist

Along with the Collard Greens with Bacon, this Smoky Mac & Cheese was the other side I served with Smoke-Brined Oven BBQ Chicken. This is the just the Modernist Mac & Cheese but made with different cheeses: a combination of smoked gouda an smoked mozzarella. Credit for the cheese combination goes to Washington Post Food Editor Joe Yonan, who suggested the combination to me during a recent Free Range on Food chat.

Since the Modernist Cuisine recipe for Mac & Cheese has no other ingredients--apart from the sodium citrate and water--it has an intense cheese flavor. And the sodium citrate gives it an amazingly pure texture. I've made a Smoky Mac & Cheese before with chicken, but this version is both simpler and more intense. The only catch is finding sodium citrate, but Amazon makes that a snap. Of course, you could always go the traditional route with a bechamel-based cheese sauce.

To finely grate the cheeses, I cut them into 1/2-inch cubes and them pulse the cubes a few times in a food processor until the cheese has a sandy texture.

Smoky Mac & Cheese
Adapted from Mac and Cheese, Modernist Cuisine at Home by Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet

1 lb. dried elbow macaroni pasta
2 1/4 cups water
12 oz. smoked gouda cheese, finely grated
8 oz. smoked mozzarella cheese, fine grated
1 heaping tbsp. sodium citrate

1. Cook macaroni in salted water according to package directions for al dente. Drain cooked pasta and set aside.

2. Add 2 1/4 cups water to a large (4 qt.) saucepan and heat over medium heat until simmering. Add sodium citrate and stir to dissolve. Add grated cheese to water one spoonful at a time. After each addition, blend with an immersion blender until the mixture is smooth. Continue in this manner until all the cheese has been added and melted in the sauce.

3. Pour the sauce over the cooked noodles and stir to combine.


  1. Man oh man, this was good. I was heartbroken when you threw out the leftovers.

  2. Sorry. They were a week old. You should have gobbled them up before I had the chance!

  3. I seriously have to make this!! It looks and sounds amazingly delicious!

    1. Thanks! I love mac & cheese, and this is one of my favorite ways to enjoy it. If you make it, please let me know how it turns out.