KITCH 121: Mac & Cheese Cheesy Goodness

For me, and I am sure many other people, macaroni and cheese is the comfort food. As far as I am concerned, breadcrumbs should be nowhere near my mac and cheese and it should be made only on the stove. However, I understand that people have different opin­ions about this and also about what should be in their macaroni and cheese. Some people are purists, while others experiment with dif­ferent types of cheese, flavorings like nutmeg, mustard, truffle oil or Worcestershire sauce, vegetables like tomatoes, squash and cauli­flower – even lobster or bacon can be used. This recipe is a relatively basic one, so feel free to add in other ingredients, use other cheeses or, if you must, top with breadcrumbs and finish it in the oven.

I used an extra-sharp cheddar cheese, gruyere and parmesan for this batch. But changing the type of cheese you use is a great way to change the flavor. Some recipes call for cream cheese or mascarpone to ensure that the sauce will be creamy while others keep it simple by just using cheddar. Either way, you can certainly use pre-shredded (or crumbled) cheese in order to save some time. However, just like black pepper (as you will read be­low), pre-shredded cheese often has less flavor than freshly grated cheese, especially when it comes to parmesan.

Also, you may notice that many recipes (including mine) call for freshly ground black pepper. Fresh pepper has a stronger taste than pre-ground pepper, thus adding more flavor to your recipe. McCormick and other brands sell spice jars that have the peppercorns and a grinder all in one so that you can have freshly ground pepper without needing a full sized peppermill.

Serves 4-6

1 pound (a box) of pasta

3 tbsp of unsalted butter

3 tbsp of all-purpose flour

2 and 1/2 cups of milk (I use skim)

1 and 1/2 cups of grated extra-sharp

cheddar cheese

1/4 cup of grated gruyere cheese

1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese

1 tsp of kosher salt

1/4 tsp of freshly ground black pepper

1. Boil water for the pasta. Once the water comes to a boil, cook and drain as directed.

2. Melt the butter in a pot over medi­um-low heat. Whisk in the flour until com­bined. Gradually add in the milk, being sure to stir it as you go. Let cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Gradually add in the cheeses, once again stirring constantly. Stir in salt and pep­per. Continue to cook until all of the cheese has melted and the sauce has thickened, about 3-5 minutes.

4. Add the cooked pasta into the sauce. Mix to combine, then serve.

Contact Emily Suskin at

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