The Ultimate Mac and Cheese

Staff Writer
The Ultimate Mac and Cheese
Thinkstock/iStockphoto

I call this the ultimate because of the sauce — it's perfectly smooth and creamy, just the way I like it. If you prefer a less smooth cheese or a different flavor profile, feel free to substitute your favorite cheeses in. Just remember what Laura Werlin says when it comes to cheese: an infinite number of cheeses can go into your mac and cheese, but what matters is the results you're looking for. Choose the cheeses that will give you those results. 

8
Servings
905
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound cavatappi pasta, cooked to package instructions
  • 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 Cups whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 Teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 Cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 Cups shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 4 Cups shredded fontina
  • 1/2 Cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Add the cooked pasta to a greased 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. 

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the stick of butter over low heat. When the butter is melted, slowly whisk in the flour and whisk well until its evenly incorporated into the butter. Let the roux cook, while whisking, over low heat, until a buttery-baked smell permeates and the roux starts bubbling all over the surface. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly, and then increase the heat to medium. Season the bechamel with salt and pepper to taste, and then add the nutmeg. Let the sauce cook over high heat until boiling, and then remove from heat and add the cheeses (except the Parmesan). Stir well so that they're all completely melted. 

Pour the sauce over the pasta in the baking dish and, using tongs or a spoon, toss well so that each piece of pasta is coated well with the sauce. In a small bowl, melt the tablespoon of butter and add the breadcrumbs. Stir well, and then add the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the breacrumb mixture evenly on top. Bake the mac and cheese in the oven until bubbling and golden brown on top, about 30-45 minutes.

Mac and Cheese Shopping Tip

If a piece of cheese smells strongly of ammonia, don't buy it. This is typically a sign of spoilage.

Mac and Cheese Cooking Tip

Allow cheese to come to room temperature before serving. This will accentuate the flavors and aromas.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
54g
83%
Sugar
9g
N/A
Saturated Fat
32g
100%
Cholesterol
170mg
57%
Protein
43g
86%
Carbs
61g
20%
Vitamin A
461µg
51%
Vitamin B12
2µg
37%
Vitamin B6
0.2mg
11%
Vitamin D
2µg
1%
Vitamin E
1mg
4.9%
Vitamin K
5µg
6%
Calcium
970mg
97%
Fiber
2g
9%
Folate (food)
34µg
N/A
Folate equivalent (total)
64µg
16%
Folic acid
18µg
N/A
Iron
2mg
10%
Magnesium
74mg
18%
Monounsaturated
15g
N/A
Niacin (B3)
2mg
11%
Phosphorus
742mg
100%
Polyunsaturated
3g
N/A
Potassium
395mg
11%
Riboflavin (B2)
0.6mg
37.1%
Sodium
962mg
40%
Thiamin (B1)
0.3mg
18.1%
Trans
0.9g
N/A
Zinc
5mg
36%

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