Mac & Cheese

Alright…let’s talk about this mac and cheese: it’s not a quick and easy weeknight meal, but if you put the effort in, I promise you’ll get an incredibly flavorful, cheesy and creamy sauce. I just like the macaroni and cheese sauce, but I included a crunchy topping for you in case you like that, and I hear people really like that. YMMV, as the kids say.

Now, some things are nonnegotiable: you need to roast garlic, you need good blocks of cheese, and you need the butter. Please don’t try to veganize this recipe: it all hinges on cheese, and good quality cheese at that. So please make sure you’re working with quality ingredients and don’t use pre-grated stuff; it’s not worth the flavor compromise. You can use whatever cheese you want, but I recommend sticking with gruyere and cheddar: gruyere is the perfect texture for melting, and a sharp cheddar will give you the right flavor.

So, here we go!

Mac and Cheese
Serves 8
616 calories
57 g
89 g
30 g
28 g
18 g
198 g
790 g
5 g
0 g
11 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 616
Calories from Fat 267
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 30g
Saturated Fat 18g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 9g
Cholesterol 89mg
Sodium 790mg
Total Carbohydrates 57g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 5g
Protein 28g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1lb macaroni (regular, not whole wheat)
  1. 1 bulb garlic
  2. 6 tbsp butter
  3. 1/2 cup flour
  4. 3 + 2/3 cups of milk
  5. 1/2 tsp black pepper
  6. 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  7. 1 tsp sea salt
  8. 6 oz Gruyere cheese
  9. 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese
  1. 3 slices of bacon
  2. 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  3. 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  4. 1 tsp dried parsley
  5. 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  1. Roasting garlic: Let's roast the garlic first, as this takes a while. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Chop the top off the bulb, exposing the tops of the garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap the bulb into aluminum foil and stick it in the oven for about 45 minutes. When it's done, the garlic will be soft and slightly caramelized, giving it a really mellow flavor. Scoop out the soft garlic cloves from the peel and mash them up into a paste with a fork. Set aside.
  2. Topping: In the meantime, make the topping. Cook the bacon and chop it up finely. To a bowl, add the bread crumbs, grated parmesan, bacon bits, red pepper flakes and parsley. Mix and set aside.
  3. Macaroni: (A quick note about the pasta: I like to use the regular white flour stuff, not whole wheat; whole wheat pasta absorbs a lot more liquid and tends to make the mac and cheese feel...dry, and not as gooey as it should be) Boil the macaroni according to package instructions. Drain the pasta in a colander and set it aside while we cook the sauce.
  4. Sauce: Grate the gruyere and cheddar and set aside for now. In a large pot (I used the same one I boiled the macaroni in), melt the 6 tbsp of butter. Add the flour and whisk quickly, so the flour and butter are evenly combined. Cook the mixture for a couple of minutes, until it turns slightly golden. We've made a light roux! Now slowly add the milk and whisk, whisk, whisk while you're pouring the milk: avoid lumps! We want a really even, non-lumpy sauce. Once you've got a smooth Bechamel sauce, add the salt, black pepper, nutmeg and roasted garlic paste. Bring to a simmer, until the sauce thickens slightly. Add the grated gruyere and cheddar and turn the heat off. Whisk the cheese until it's all melted. Now we have Mornay sauce! Look at that, we made fancy-sounding french food :)
  5. Putting it all together: Add the cooked macaroni to the sauce and stir it all together. Now, this is how I like my mac and cheese, and this sauce is so especially fragrant and perfect, you don't need the topping. But in case you do....
  6. Pour the macaroni sauce into a 9x13in pan. Sprinkle the bacon/breadcrumb topping on top of the macaroni and bake, uncovered, at 400 F for about 15 minutes. This should turn the topping nice and crunchy and golden brown.
  7. Let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving; hot cheese burns the mouth!
Adapted from Kayotic Kitchen
Adapted from Kayotic Kitchen
A Kitchen Odyssey