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Macaroni and Cheese

I’ve been thinking for eons about making macaroni and cheese. Well, I suppose I could whittle that down to say that I’ve been thinking about making macaroni and cheese for at least for the last six years. Yet I’d not gotten around to it, even though I live in the land of les fromages exceptionnels. And because of that, there are always knobs and ends of cheese floating around that I’m always looking to use up.

Macaroni and Cheese

So I was thrilled when I got a copy of Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese, a whole book dedicated to the cheesy, carby subject close to many of our hearts. And with gorgeous photos that’ll make you want to grab hold of your grater, knuckles be darned, if you’re anything like me, you’ll find it’s hard not to jump up, head to the kitchen, and start shredding away.

Macaroni and Cheese

I skimmed the book, noting one mac & cheese that was made with Brillat-Savarin cheese (rich!) with torn croissants on top (richer!) and was intrigued by another version of the classic that included baked apples. But I was hankering for the classic; noodles baked in a creamy sauce, topped with crisp, buttery breadcrumbs. So I went off in my own direction, as I am wont to do.

Macaroni and Cheese

I’m one of those goofy people who actually likes whole-wheat pasta (with stewed greens, garlic, red pepper flakes and Feta? – yes!), which my French other-half silently tolerates. And believe me, it isn’t easy to find a Frenchman who tolerates anything silently. (Yes! He’s a keeper.) But in the end, classicism won out and I went with regular elbow pasta. Interestingly, I’ve not found regular elbow-shaped pasta in French grocery stores, just little bitty ones. However a trip to the natural food store yielded a nice bag of Italian pasta in a similar curlicue shape, but a lot more attractive than plain elbows, with nifty little ridges to trap bits of the cheesy sauce.

Macaroni and Cheese

Speaking of cheese, while some of the top fromagers in Paris “get” that cheddar can be a cheese worthy of elevated status, for the most part, a majority of the cheddar you can find is of supermarket quality, shipped over from across the channel and nowhere near as interesting as the very good stuff. So with all the amazing French cheeses easily available, and the bits and pieces in my refrigerator, I kept it local and went with sharp Gouda Étuvé and nutty Comté because that’s what I had on hand.

I used to propose articles to magazines and newspapers articles for the US about clever ways of using up leftover things like ends of bread and bits of cheese (both are serious problems if you live in France) and they never want to do them, so you guys are stuck with me, just like I’m stuck with lots of odds and ends of cheese.

Macaroni and Cheese

But there were no complaints when I pulled the pan of hot macaroni and cheese out of the oven, a soft layer of melted cheese in white sauce baked with pasta under a crunchy blanket of buttered breadcrumbs. I tried to think of a French name to call it, then realized it was a version of the classic gratin, the much-beloved dish that can contain anything from potatoes and bacon, to braised endive. And everyone dove in.

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

This dish is, of course, all – or mostly – about the cheese. A good cheddar is wonderful, but it’s nice to mix up a sharp cheese with another that’s nutty and slightly creamy, such as Jarlsberg, Comté or Gruyère, in whatever proportion you like. I cook the sauce in the same pan that I made the pasta in to save on clean up. I seasoned this with dry mustard powder and thyme. The mustard gives a bit of depth to the sauce and the fresh thyme adds a pleasant herbal note in the background. But you can omit them if you’d like.

For the pasta and cheese sauce

  • 3/4 pound (340g) uncooked pasta
  • 5 tablespoons (70g) unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons (60g) all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups (1L) whole milk, warm
  • 1 pound (450g, about 6 cups) grated cheese
  • 1/2 cup (45g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or red pepper powder

For the topping

  • 1 1/2 cups (190g) breadcrumbs
  • 4 tablespoons (60g) melted butter, salted or unsalted
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • Butter a wide 2 1/2 to 3-quart (3l) baking dish.
  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of lightly salted water until tender, and drain well. When cool, spread the pasta in the baking dish.
  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC.)
  • Wipe the pasta pot dry and melt the 5 tablespoons (70g) butter in it over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Dribble in some of the warm milk, stirring continuously; you can use a whisk, which will help break up lumps, or use a spatula, stirring briskly.
  • Continue to add the milk, a small amount at a time while stirring, until all the milk is added. Cook the milk until it comes to a low boil, stirring constantly, then cook the mixture for 3 minutes, until it thickens.
  • Remove from heat and stir the grated cheese, Parmesan, mustard, thyme, and cayenne. (Depending on the cheese, you may wish to season the mixture with a bit of salt.) Pour the mixture over the pasta in the baking dish and stir it to combine. When finished, make sure it’s in an even layer in the dish.
  • Make the topping by mixing together the breadcrumbs, melted butter, and parsley, then strew the crumbs over the top.
  • Bake the macaroni and cheese for 25 minutes, or until the topping is nicely browned.


    • Krysalia

    you may find “les coudes rayés” at Leclerc, from their own brand :). they are pretty good and I must admit they hold themselves just as good as any famous brand ones.

    • Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate

    I make mac n’ cheese all the time. I wish I had access to some amazing French cheese to add to it! I do always add a hint of blue though because I am a blue cheese junkie and I even find that it brings out different notes in the cheddar.

    • Christophe

    I add some of that nice, bitey horseradish mustard made by Maille to mine, instead of dry. I like the addition of thyme and will try that next time. Thanks!

    • Cynthia Short

    I love to serve an extensive cheese tray at gatherings and then the next day make Mac and cheese with the leftovers. Smoked Gouda, Gorgonzola, brie, even horseradish cheddar have made it in and it is always wonderful. Be adventurous! If your cheeses are mild, add dried mustard and a bit of Worcestershire sauce or Tabasco.

    • Ilke

    I still had not had macaroni and cheese about four- five years after moved to USA. I just never thought it was anything tasty for some reason.Blame the boxed macaroni cheese in the markets! Then one day my husband decided it was the best way to use lots of Gouda in the fridge. I remember cringing and asking him continuously “Are you sure? Are you perfectly sure to make this with gouda?” It was delicious! He was right (it was one of very few moments that I accept that verbally!)

    • Julietagb

    Great recipe!!! I was planning a mac&cheese soon, my boyfriend wanted the Paula Deen version (yikes!), but no way, I´m going with this. Thanks!!!

    • Ruthy @ Omeletta

    While macaroni and cheese made with cheddar is classic and wonderful, I can only imagine how delicious it would be with a comte cheese. I can’t believe it’s taken you so long to make mac & cheese, surrounded by all that good stuff! Fingers crossed this isn’t the last macaroni and cheese recipe we see on here for another 6 years :)

    • Marios @

    Hmmm, I wonder if this would be a go-to recipe for any leftover cheeses. But I guess they’ll have to be cheeses that melt and stay creamy, right? Do you think there are any cheeses that wouldn’t work that way? If they are too aged for example?

    • wanderingeducators

    I love making mac & cheese, too – with delicious combinations of cheese. I wish i had your lovely cheese bit leftovers!

    • parisbreakfast

    Marks & Spencer has nice aged Cheddar in their food dept.if you’re so inclined.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks – I usually go in there and dial in on the crumpets! : )

    • Matt

    I’m sure the other parts of the recipe are good, but I’m firmly in the camp of using emulsifying salts for a cheese sauce over using a roux. The easiest way that I find to do this is to remove the salts used in this recipe
    and replace part of the milk with evaporated milk. I find the cheese flavour greatly improved.

    • Eliza Twist

    I have pared down our consumption of mac n cheese in recent years because it is just soo rich. But I must share our favorite additions some of which come from our local German restaurant and others which have evolved out of a need to use up veggies from our CSA box (you’ll probably be able to figure out which are which). Caramelized onions have become a must. (I make an enormous batch and freeze them to have on hand.) Sliced ham is very tasty. Emanthaler has become my favorite cheese for this dish, along with the onions and ham it is absolutely perfect. Roasted and then pureed winter squash adds substance, silky texture, and a satisfying level of nutritiousness. Blanched and then finely chopped winter greens complete the package. Hum…maybe it’s not so unhealthy after all, thanks for getting me thinking David!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I haven’t tried sodium citrate (I have no idea where to get that in Paris – perhaps at Detou? – (I recently spent 3 days looking for Xantham gum for a recipe, which I finally found..) I do wonder why that final recipe came out orange when the picture shows the sauce as white. Kathi at Panini Happy did a write-up of doing something similar to cheese, which was on – and a recipe from Modernist Cuisine. It’s a pretty interesting technique – have you tried it?

    • Chocolate Shavings

    It’s definitely a version of the classic French gratin, you’re right! As a Parisian, I always think that the stronger, sharp cheeses make for the best macaroni and cheese, even though I only discovered the dish once moving to North America. Your rendition looks and sounds lovely — the only thing I would add is a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. It’s that special perfect touch for me!

    • tunie

    Even though there’s nothing wrong with the classic bechamel based sauce, really, Heston Blumenthal has the perfect cheese sauce, successful without bechamel because of a simple scientific understanding of the way cheese melts. He also cooks the pasta in a 400g pasta to 200g water ratio for maximum starch, then adds the sauce. Changed my life!

    Here’s the 2min. sauce video, but the m&c assemblage is in the full episode on cheese:

    • Jay

    No, I haven’t but I would love to if I can find cheese with less salt.

    • JudyMac

    Brain dead individuals? Forgive me, I am not French and do not speak French, but I must say, Mon Dieu! From what rock did this person crawl out from under? Sorry, David, I’m flabbergasted and my tongue lost control. As usual, your post on Macaroni and Cheese was enough to make everyone ravenously hungry!

    • John (Crustcrumbs)

    I’m so glad you shared this post on Halloween! Our family tradition is to have macaroni and cheese on Halloween night because it was the fastest and easiest and neatest (wouldn’t ruin our face paint) thing for us to eat when we were kids. Back then it was Kraft Dinner – now it’s a homemade version.

    • Danika

    Yummy! Thanks for putting the grams of uncooked pasta required. I see many recipes asking for a quantity of cooked pasta, inevitably I end up cooking too much or not enough, makes me grumpy!

    • Emil

    Oh Comté, how I love thee!

    • macy

    The comment referencing brain dead individuals is almost definitely from a spam bot so no need to be offended, only annoyed at the internet. notice how it reads like a form letter and could apply to any comment enabled page?

    in any case, david, i’m feeling rather smug as this is how i’ve always made mac and cheese (thanks mom!), and i think it’s the bomb, but i feel extra validated now.

    if i have an urgent cheesy pasta eating emergency, i just skip the bread crumbs stage, sacrifice an extra pot and make the sauce and pasta at the same time. 10 minutes and bam, life is good.

    another variation that i like is to sub the cayenne for chipotle powder for a lovely smoky southwest flavor. and now i want to eat this right now.

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Judymac & macy: Yes, that was a spammer using gobbledygook to embed keywords, etc. My spam catcher usually stops those, or I do. But every once in a while, one slips through. (Oddly, it was from some outfit that does massages. I can’t imagine what kind of company that does massages would take the time to spam websites – wonder how their massages are!)

    tunie: The classic works for me, but thanks for that link. I know that there are various “modern” ways to make mac & cheese these days. And I did love reading about the classic twists in the Melt book as well. Glad there’s room in the world for the new, and the not-so-new (but good.)

    Krysalia: I actually find some very interesting pasta shapes in natural food stores, like the “elbows” that I used here. At the supermarkets in France, I do like the long tubes called “macaroni.”

    • Skye

    There really is an art to macaroni and cheese. I love adding a touch of truffle oil to mine. And using a combination of different cheeses is a definite must.

    • Sharyn

    Love mac & cheese, such a satisfying dish in the cold weather. I make a version with caramelised onions and chourico. It’s delicious, but after reading your post I think I need to be paying more attention to the cheese.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      There’s also a French dish called Fromage Fort made with leftover cheese, wine and garlic. It’s super easy and a great way to use up odd ‘n ends, too.

    • Janie

    David, you’ve just made this lactose intolerant deeply, deeply sad ;)
    Janie x

    • BlinkyTheFish

    Ooh, this looks terrific. It’s rainy and miserable where I am in the UK. Might give it a whirl with Keen’s cheddar from Waitrose, it’s got an interesting ‘earthy-dirt’ taste which doesn’t sound great but it makes for a wonderful unusual sharpness that cuts the richness.

    • Annabel

    Did you know that in the UK we omit the “and”, and just call it “macaroni cheese”, or “mucky cheese” for short! I actually prefer it made with the tiny French macaroni called “coquillettes”, although I also like it made with the very long tubular macaroni that you can sometimes get – it’s the same length as spaghetti, only tubular.

    One of my favourite ways of making it is to make the sauce with a tin of tomatoes instead of milk – I make a whisked sauce rather than a roux, as it’s so much easier and has exactly the same result. Whizz your tomatoes with the flour, and a bit of oil, if you like (but you can omit the fat altogether to make it healthier), or you could be softening an onion in some butter or oil, or a leek, or maybe cooking some lardons until the juices run…. then you add the tomato mix on top of this and stir until it comes to the boil, stir in the cheese (and I sometimes add a tin of sweetcorn as well), mix with the cooked pasta, top with breadcrumb-and-cheese mix and bake.

    Incidentally, if you make your sauce with milk, try adding ¼ tsp dry mustard powder to it – transformation!

    • Marina

    Hi David, first of all I wanted to thank you because I found your blog while doing some research in preparation of a trip to Paris, I bought your Pastry Guide and visited many of the restaurants and patisseries you recommended and I was never disappointed!! So, thanks for making my trip to Paris even more special.

    Then, funny thing, I am Italian, and since I was a kid my mom has always made something very similar to this, pasta with béchamel, mozzarella and bits of salame and then baked. We always called it “pasta gratin”! Just as you said!
    Only when I moved to the US as an adult I found out about macaroni and cheese!

    • MrsG

    The tendency back in the States, is the more goo the better. By the way, just spent two weeks in Paris, you should discuss prices of everything! And the population changes.

    • Cynthia A.

    When I was backpacking through Europe 30 years ago I spent some time camping in Chamonix where we made mac and cheese with Brie because it was the cheapest cheese we could buy. It was too much-way too much. You really need a sharp cheese to balance out a good mac and cheese dish.

    • Charles Moore

    Monterrey pepper jack is also a good addition as is a few canned or fresh hot peppers for a southwestern variation.

    • Judith Basham

    You mentioned cheddar cheese in your preamble and all I can say is “Black Bomber.” It is not available in the major supermarkets here in England, but I buy it from the cheese monger on Tuesdays when he comes to Saffron Walden market. It is made by in Wales. Once you taste it David, you will not yearn for another make of cheddar cheese.

    • Francesca

    After I was forced to be gluten free thirteen years ago I started making the roux for the cheese sauce with potato flour. This adds a subtle potato flavor that is quite delicious. Mac and Cheese is actually one dish that doesn’t suffer from being GF.

    • Mia

    Mouthwatering post, David. For other mac&cheese lovers out there, a recently released cookbook by homeroom in Oakland, where I live: That’s all they serve and it’s delish.

    • Susan M.

    Now, what to do with leftover mac n cheese? Do what the Italians do. Scramble up a couple of eggs, fry the mac n cheese in copious amounts of butter, pour the eggs over and stir to cook. Plate and eat. I will make mac n cheese just for the leftovers.

    I know you’ve heard of spaghetti pie? Much better!!

    • Heather Smoke

    I’ve only made homemade macaroni and cheese once, and I added some lump crab to mine, which was nice, however, I was trying to make it somewhat healthy, which I realized later was a mistake, and that it’s not the right dish to bother trying to scrimp on the cream, butter, and of course, cheese. I, too, love whole wheat pasta!

    • Sophie

    In Quebec, it’s simply called “macaroni au fromage” lol
    aww man now I need to add this to our weekly menu…it’s been too long since our last cheesy episode!

    • judy

    Can I use panco instead of bread crumbs?

    • Laura

    Now that the weather is cooling down, I love dishes like macaroni and cheese – the ultimate comfort food! This recipe sounds like a winner.

    • natalie @ wee eats

    I have like 2348234 mac n cheese recipes to try, but NONE OF THEM have received an official David Lebowitz stamp of approval… so clearly this one is jumping to the front of the line!

    • PaulaR

    And are those the cassoulet bowls you wrote about in the spring? Nice.

    • Susan M.

    If you mean panko, I imagine you could but the texture of bread crumbs is different than the panko, so it would not be the same. Just process a few slices of bread and you have bread crumbs. Doesn’t require buying anything new on your part.

      • judy

      Thank you. I have bread crumbs but I was just wondering.
      Thank you for replying.

    • Be Davis

    If you add a couple of tablespoons of vadouvan (should be readily available in Paris since it is a southern Indian/French spice blend) you will have a mac and cheese that is so utterly addictive, but with a spicy twist, that you will likely never make m.n’c without it ever again. The recipe I use is from Jennifer Reese’s Make the Bread, Buy the Butter, but there are similar versions available if you google. Ms. Reese uses a combo of swiss and cheddar. Vadouvan has many uses, not just for mac n’cheese, especially if you are a fan of curry.

      • judy

      You can make vadouvan yourselves. Just Google it.

    • Helen from Idaho

    Certainly mac & cheese weather here so guess what’s for lunch and probably dinner. My family loves this baked version which I’ve topped with panko or fresh or dried bread crumbs, whichever was handy at the moment (I’m a bread baker so crumbs always available fresh or frozen). We actually prefer my homemade panko since it soaks up butter and cheese better than fresh or dried crumbs. All sorts of additions are possible, especially spices, vegetables and bits of various meats or sausages; definitely a dish to experiment as far as the kids will allow.
    As for the lactose intolerant I was told by a nutritionist that aged (over 6 months) cheeses are generally lactose free (the USA nutrition label should have ‘0’ sugars) so I indulge in a small portion once in awhile.
    Thanks for another great real food post!

    • Susan

    Your recipe is basically the same as mine. I love the dried mustard in it, too. And, I’m glad to see you said to cook the pasta until tender. Most recipes have you cook the macaroni to the al dente stage which ends up sucking up all the cheese sauce. Boo. I guess I’m a product of a too busy Mother who forgot about the boiling macaroni until it was almost too tender whereby the little tubes collapsed in the casserole of gooey cheese sauce. I still love it that way!
    I’m also a fan of the bread crumb topping. I just mini process a couple slices of bread and mix it with melted butter and some of the cheddar and strew it over the top. So crunchy good!

    • Mary Swanson

    On the East coast (USA) a popular dish is Lobster Mac and Cheese. Depending on the amount of, and quality of the cheese, its richness will make your eyes roll back in your head.

    • Cyndy

    @Matt, watched the video. There’s no explanation as to what the ingredient is that substitutes for the roux. What is SHMP? And can this be cooked in any old pot of water as long as the temp is controlled, or must you have a sous vide setup?

      • judy

      I have heard that cottages cheese can replace the roux.

    • Cynthia Scheer

    I used to be on your monthly newsletter list, but haven’t received it for several months. Can you reinstate me, please? I read every word. Many thanks …

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Hi Cynthia: If you’re on AOL, they tend to block newsletters and so forth. I don’t have AOL, but if they have a safe list, you can put in there and it should come. (I don’t send out anything other than the newsletter so that’s all you should get, monthly.) If you have another e-mail address you might want to try that, entering it in the newsletter sign-up field in the top right of the site. The current November newsletter is here.

    • Kiki

    I LOVE macaroni&cheese – comfort food and I use whatever I have handy. It’s funny because often when I read an American book (fiction) there’s talk about a macaroni-cheese bake and every time my stomach does a flip…
    We (in Switzerland) call these pasta ‘Müscheli’ (small shells) because they are rippled, roundish and I think the Italians call them (the really small ones) orechiette (tiny ears) or gnocchetti (small gnocchi) – I rather love the word ellbow… :)
    I often use wholemeal pasta (or as my son called it ‘dirty pasta’) for the stronger taste, I also add veggies if I have any to finish, I add a dash of nutmeg and/or sour cream or fromage frais instead of milk, whatever…. it’s always super good!
    Bon app.

    • Matt

    David, you don’t need to source sodium citrate if you want to try a fancy modernist cheese. As I mentioned before, evaporated milk has disodium phosphate, which does much of the same job as sodium citrate. You can even use any sort of processed cheese, not as the main part of the cheese, just as a supply of emulsifying salts. I just find that evaporated milk has a nice flavour.

    I love your website David, just suggesting something nice and easy to try next time you make a macaroni and cheese

    • Tina

    Just ordered “Melt” NOT that I NEED more recipes for M&C, but I am weak.
    Damn you David Lebovitz! Damn you!


    • Peter Longenecker

    Jack Bishop (in his book A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen) has a recipe for Macaroni and Cheese, Italian Style. He uses Taleggio as the main cheese. We tried this a few years ago and haven’t done it any other way since.

    Judy, yes you can use panko instead of the the breadcrumbs (we do); just cut the the breadcrumb amount in half.

    • BelleD

    Your pasta is actually called “lumache rigate” which means “grooved snails”. It’s one of my favorite pasta shapes. Picks up sauces so well.

    I always like to use at least 2 different cheeses, one of which has to be a good melting cheese. I love cheddar, especially an extra sharp cheddar, but it doesn’t melt well and gets oily. So I will often mix a Monterey Jack or, Gruyere. I once tried a mac and cheese with just gruyere, but it was too salty, even though the gruyere was a good one.

    • Jessica

    I just read the November newsletter by using the link you provided. Since I have an AOL email address, could you provide a line once a month to your newslatter? It would enable me to read it. Thanks.

    • deana @lostpastremembered

    One of the most unusual mac and cheeses I ever had was a Brit version with port and stilton. It was magnificent (even if it was a weird pink color). Love using all different cheese bits for mac and cheese — the only downside is when it is fabulous and you can’t replicate it!

    • Gavrielle

    Is liking wholewheat pasta unusual? It has so much more flavour than the white stuff (you’re not hungry an hour afterwards, either).

    Macaroni and cheese (or macaroni cheese as we call it in NZ in the British tradition) has been the source of one of the biggest cultural clashes for me. I was astonished when I discovered that for many Americans it comes in a box. In…a…box? How is that even possible? To this day I still don’t know how it gets from a box into a vaguely edible form. Are there elves in there making bechamel sauce?

    • Arielle Curtin

    David: Huge fan! But Mac’n Cheese is hallowed ground. My mom’s recipe. One pound elbows (essential), one pound sharp cheddar (essential). Butter glass baking bowl (Pyrex type), layer cooked macaroni, grated cheese, mac, cheese till you end with macaroni layer. Top with Italian breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, any bits of leftover cheese. Then add whole milk three-quarters to top of bowl. Cook for one hour at 350F. It’s the one and only!

    • Bebe

    Arielle, that is what I was raised on – the layered mac and cheese – except that it ended with a cheese layer and no breadcrumbs. Important not to overcook the macaroni so that it still has some starch to give off in the baking to thicken the milk sauce. Simple and delicious. Some think the crusty cheese on the top is the best part!

    • asmae

    I apologize because my comment is not related to this post, but I was not able to find another way to contact you. I have a question about chocolate, I am looking for the secret to making the mono solid color shines on chocolates like in The chocolate make up palette by Aoki. Thanks so much!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Those chocolates are quite beautiful, aren’t they? I think those are transfer sheets made of cocoa butter and they are likely custom made for them. At home, you could probably experiment with mixing melted white chocolate with an edible colorant (make sure it’s oil-based as anything water-based will likely cause the chocolate to seize) and dip or paint the tops of the enrobed, cooled chocolates in the mixture. However I’m not sure you would get that same intensity of color. But that would be my best guess on how to replicate it. Good luck!

    • SusanV

    I love that you used dry mustard and thyme. My grandma’s recipe for classic mac & cheese uses only 4 spices- salt, pepper, dry mustard, & thyme.

    Of course my favorite is traditional cheddar, but I am know to add in whatever other tasty cheeses we happen to have on hand- gouda being one of our favorites.

    Thanks for the post! I’ll add mac & cheese to our menu for this week.

    • Amy Kamm

    I made one last year from cheeses we had leftover from a raclette. Since raclette cheese is hard to come by and expensive here in Kansas we have learned to branch out. Anyway we used leftover fontina, raclette and smoked was amazing. I imagine using some of the many flavored raclette cheeses available in France would only enhance mac and cheese further.

    • lagatta à montréal

    I’m glad to hear that the new version of Marks and Spencer in Paris carries good mature cheddar – I bought it way back when, in the 1980s. When in Amsterdam, I’ve made it from gouda bought at a nearby street market, Dappermarkt. The stalls often have dried-out cheese marked down, and it is perfect for this use – even aged goat’s milk gouda.

    I like to add some chopped and “blondi” shallots, even nicer than onions or garlic, which can be harsh.

    I’m lactose-intolerant, after a very, very severe cow milk allergy as a baby and small child, and only consumed goat’s or ewe’s milk cheeses, but have discovered upon the advice of a dietician that I can indeed digest very old hard cow’s milk cheeses, especially ones such as gruyère or other aged Swiss cheeses. But I still make my béchamel with goat’s milk.

    Cheese is probably my favourite food; as I child I was always unhappy about not being able to eat it; I didn’t care about ice cream or milkshakes. Of course I wouldn’t make this often, as it is very rich and caloric. But I remember it served in little oval earthenware dishes, glazed white inside and green outside, in a very reasonable portion.

    • AJ

    I made this over the weekend during particularly grey and wet weather. Didn’t look quite as finished as your images, but delicious nonetheless. Cheers for the inspiration!

    • Giada

    This pasta shape is called “pipe” which translates to “pipes” the smoking ones :)
    it’s a pretty unusual kind of pasta… I wonder how it ended up in a natural food store? :D

    • Janet

    When the weather gets colder, I love taking bits of cheeses I have on hand to make Mac n’ Cheese. That last one had a bit of blue, lovely old (white) cheddar and some gruyere. It also had bits of bacon. Very tasty indeed.

    • Adella

    Hate to be a pain, but it should be les fromages exceptionnels. Either way, it sure looks delicious!

    • Natalie @ In Natalie’s Shoes

    Holy hell. This sounds absolutely divine! Now that it’s finally cooling down in Napa Valley, I’ll have to try this recipe out.

    • Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy

    Those look like Pipette – little pipes – one of my favorites! They hold pasta sauce so nicely – this is a great choice for mac & cheese (which I’ve also been craving lately).

      • Cyndy

      I wonder where one can get pipettes in the US?

    • @amuchmunch

    When the temperature drops, the craving for cheese becomes insatiable – just made this with a rather exotic combination of English (mature cheddar, Red Leicester), Norwegian (some leftover Gudbrandsdalsost which is more of a whey) and Italian (grana padano). That. Hit. The. Spot. Norwegian brown cheese in a sauce is caramel-y divinity. And breadcrumbs from a rye sourdough loaf that failed to rise.

    What a way to use up leftovers!

    • Sinead

    Looks like perfect comfort food :-)

    • Ayal

    I don’t think liking whole-wheat pasta is goofy at all, personally I love it. And it’s sooo much better for you than regular pasta, definitely worth switching if you eat pasta on a regular basis!

    • Patricia Coyle

    I just made this tonight. It was delish….no variation except for the cheese I had on hand…..
    Parm, cheddar (a good sharp one from Vermont) plus jarlsberg and aged gruyere. The flat pan and breadcrumbs add to the crisp/creamy texture. The only change I would make is to add Tabasco instead of the cayenne. I have a 1985 ‘Beard on Pasta’ cookbook and James Beard’s Macaroni and Cheese has been my main-stay for years and years….
    his recipe calls for 1/2 tsp Tabasco or more to taste. His notes say….’Don’t be afraid of the Tabasco. It will help to bring out the taste of the cheese.’
    Thank You, David for yet another wonderful recipe.

    • Mary Beth

    oh David, this was heavenly!! this is without a doubt my new go-to recipe for mac and cheese. thank you thank you!


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