This dish is a dangerous one to learn. But first let me start by saying that yes, I have eaten the boxed mac and cheese and yup, it was good! This however is a chance to use some nice cheeses and create something more personal and sustaining. I used a combination of gruyer and two types of cheddar but you can add really any cheese you’d like.
Mac and Cheese Done Right
The basis of this dish is a classic white sauce, with lots and lots of cheese added. The end result is a rich cheesy pasta dish that's hard to resist.
- 1 pound Pasta (Conchiglie)
- 1 quart milk
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 3/4 tbsp salt plus 1 tsp for salting the pasta water
- 3/4 tsp black pepper freshly ground
- 10 oz gruyer cheese freshly grated
- 6 oz sharp cheddar freshly grated
- 6 oz red cheddar freshly grated
- 1/3 cup pecorino romano
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp olive oil for pasta water
Add olive oil to a pot of boiling salted water. Add pasta, cook according to instructions and drain.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the milk in a pot making sure not to allow it to come to a boil.
Melt 7 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a large pot. Add the flour and whisk while it cooks on low heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the milk in while whisking and cook until thickened, 2-3 minutes.
Remove from heat and mix in the cheeses, salt, nutmeg and pepper.
Melt one tablespoon of butter and mix with the breadcrumbs.
Add the cooked pasta and mix well. Transfer to a baking dish or ramekins and top with the breadcrumbs and some more pecorino romano if you'd like.
Bake at 375 for about 35 minutes.
Recipe adapted from my hero Ina Garten.
OK, so this is a pretty indulgent dish; lots of cheese, a “drop” of butter, etc. However in moderation, or excess upon occasion, it’s totally fine 🙂
I love seeing the little specks of pepper and nutmeg dotted throughout the dish!
This kind of dish won’t last long…