To find the most decadent mac and cheese recipe, we went to the experts at Murray's Cheese in New York City. They serve a version of this at their Mac & Cheese Bar, but it's easy enough to make at home and will feed an army!
Grating your own cheese will result in a smoother, creamier texture than the pre-grated cheese you can buy at the grocery store. Trust us, it's worth it. Feel free to toss in your favorite add-ins like scallions, bacon or even these unexpected ingredients that go great with mac and cheese.
- 1 Pound elbow macaroni, cooked
- 1 quart milk
- 1/2 onion, skin removed
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 1/2 cloves garlic
- 11 Tablespoons butter
- 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
- 10 Ounces cheddar
- 10 Ounces Taleggio, rind removed and cubed
- 8 Ounces fontina
- 8 Ounces Gouda
- 1/2 Teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 Teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 Teaspoon cayenne
- 1 Cup panko breadcrumbs
- Zest from one lemon
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, minced
Grate all cheeses. Pre-heat your oven to 350°F. Cook your elbow pasta until al dente, drain, and set aside.
Cut a slit into the halved onion and place a bay leaf in the slit. Place the onion into a saucepan with 2 whole cloves of garlic. Start making the mornay sauce by adding the milk to the saucepan and simmer at medium-low heat.
In a separate large saucepan, melt 8 tbsp of butter and add ½ clove grated garlic. Cook for 30 seconds and then slowly add the flour, whisking to combine, and cook for 2 more minutes. Do not let it burn. Ladle in the warm milk (without the onion, bay leaf and garlic), whisking constantly, until combined and smooth.
Add the nutmeg, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Add 5 ounces cheddar, 5 ounces Taleggio, 3 ounces fontina, and 3 ounces Gouda.
Pour the mornay sauce over the cooked pasta and toss to combine. Mix in the rest of the cheeses until it's at your desired consistency. Pour into a baking dish.
In a small sauté pan, melt 3 tablespoons butter and add the panko breadcrumbs, thyme and lemon zest. Cook on low heat until golden-brown. Evenly sprinkle onto the macaroni in the baking dish.
Bake in a 350°F oven for 20 minutes and serve immediately.