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I don’t know about you, but there are a few things I need to get off my chest. One is that I can’t think of any time when I don’t want Mac & Cheese. And two, long before the advent of the internet recipe (and food blogs), words like “world’s best” weren’t considered clickbait. They were a declaration by magazines, newspapers, and cookbooks that whatever dish that was being presented really was the best version they came up with.

Back in the day, when you said it, you meant it. (Even if, as everybody knows, there isn’t just one “best” way to cook or bake anything. Whatever exists, there’s always something that comes along that’s better, cheaper, faster, slower, etc.) But nowadays recipe headlines scream “Life-Changing Cauliflower,” or “Help! I can’t stop eating these Oreo-stuffed Red Velvet cupcakes,” or my least-favorite, “Top Ten Brownie Recipes…According to Amazon Reviews.” I’ve eaten a few life-changing foods in my life, and I’m not stuffing anything into something else and deep-frying it (unless it’s fried chicken stuffed with more fried chicken), nor do I have a lot of faith in a curated selection of anonymous online reviews.

However I did trust food magazines and newspapers, ones that had test kitchens where everything was tested, and tasted, before it was published. A few still do, but I’ve had some hits and misses with online recipes and prefer to use something where the writer talks about how they made it (so you know they actually made it), and they have a good track record.

As I work my way through my recipe files that I’ve been lugging around for decades, this one I plucked from a magazine that was published in 2007. It’s based on a recipe from Pure Flavors:125 Fresh, All-American Recipes from the Pacific Northwest written by Kurt Beecher Dammeier, with Laura Holmes Hadda. Kurt was the founder of Beecher’s cheese in Seattle, which is indeed right up there with the world’s best cheddars. So I had high hopes for this recipe.

I went to their website and saw they even sell it frozen, which reminded me of when the French frozen food chain Picard had an “American Festival” and featured their Mac & Cheese, as well as a Pastrami Sandwich on a pretzel (also sold frozen, among other spécialities américaines) that included arugula, for some reason, which I bought on a whim.

Defrosted, the arugula wilted into a few flat, soggy leaves, and the lone slice of pastrami underneath them reminded of when Romain ordered a pastrami sandwich at a café in Paris and when he got it, he walked it back into the kitchen to tell the surprised cooks that there wasn’t enough pastrami on it, showing him with his hands how high a pastrami sandwich needs to be…based on his actual New York City experiences.

But many foods from elsewhere are better-represented, and even in the land of outstanding fromages, Cheddar has become more available in Paris. Good fromageries offer artisanal brands, such as Neal’s Yard, and supermarkets carry passable brands, which I used here, mixed with a local favorite, Comté.

Sharp eyes will notice that mine had a few flecks of orange Mimolette in it, which was leftover from making a double batch of Gougères a few days before, when I had the grating attachment out for my stand mixer and decided to grate a little extra cheese to make this recipe. Cheddar is really good here but if you can’t get it (or if you live outside of France and want to splurge), Mimolette is very close in flavor and texture.

I’ll have to admit that when this came out of the oven, I treated myself to a big spoonful of it as soon as it simmered down. It bubbled rather violently in the oven and I was concerned about the sauce breaking but instead I was treated to slender tubes of pasta, some crunchy on top, submerged in a creamy, but not devastatingly rich, Mac & Cheese sauce.

 

"World's Best" Mac & Cheese

Adapted from Pure Flavors: 125 Fresh, All-American Recipes from the Pacific Northwest by Kurt Beecher Dammeier and Laura Holmes Hadda
I used a combination of 50% mature or sharp cheddar, and close to 50% Comté cheese with a little Parmesan to sprinkle over the top. I skipped the garlic powder listed in the original recipe and cut down the cooking time of the béchamel, and tweaked a few other things.
In place of the Comté, you could swap in Gruyère, Emmenthal, Gouda or another flavorful melting cheese of your choosing, but I'd stick with 50% cheddar if you can. Chipotle powder adds a lovely smokiness, and I went with half the amount of the original recipe, and this was just right to my taste but feel free to add more.
Ridged pasta is usually a good idea with dishes like this but I am on a roll to use up bits and ends of bags of pasta I had, so I used ziti which are similar to what Kraft uses in their Mac & Cheese. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me. (And no offense, but this Mac & Cheese is better than theirs.)
Course Main Course
Servings 4 servings
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) butter, salted or unsalted
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons (30g) flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) whole milk, warmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 10 ounces (285g) mixed grated sharp cheddar and Comté cheeses, total
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces (170g) dried pasta, such as ziti, elbows, shells, or another favorite shape
  • 1/2 ounce (16g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • Butter an 8-inch (20cm) square baking dish or another shallow baking dish with a 6 cup (1,5L) capacity.
  • Melt the butter over low heat in a large heavy-duty saucepan. Add the flour and stir constantly for two minutes. Slowly add the milk, starting with about 1/4 cup (60ml) at a time, stirring constantly, until all the milk is added. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a low boil, continuing to stir, then cook for 2 to 3 minutes stirring constantly until thickened. (If it appears lumpy you can give it a few strong stirs with a whisk while the sauce is cooking.)
  • Remove from heat and stir in the salt, 8 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups/225g) of the mixed cheese, the chipotle powder and some black pepper. Stir until the cheese is melted.
  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until it's very al dente, about a minute less than the recommended cooking time. Drain, rinse in cold water, and drain well.
  • Stir the cooked pasta into the saucepan of cheese sauce then spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 2 ounces (1/2 cup, 60g) of the grated cheese mixture then top with the Parmesan. If desired, sprinkle a little chipotle powder over the top.
  • Bake for 20 minutes until the mac & cheese is bubbling. If you want the top darker, turn on the broiler and watch carefully, removing it when it gets to the desired brownness. (Don't overdo it, though.) Remove from the oven, let cool 5 minutes, then serve.


110 comments

    • Daniella

    Looks and sounds délicieux ! Love Romain’s teaching the French the proper height of a pastrami sandwich. ?? Where do you find chipotle powder in Paris ??

    Thanks and welcome back

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I bought it back from the States but you could use pimente d’Espelette (or smoked paprika)

        • Mary Faigle

        I buy dried Chipotle from meilleur chef and grind it myself. This recipe sounds divine! I’ll give it a go for the Christmas crowd.

        • Daniella

        Thanks !

        • Becki

        Hi David,
        Do you have an online source for piment d’Espelette? I’ve not had much success finding it here in the US.
        Thanks!

      • Marsha

      Epices Roellinger has piment chipotle powder. They have a boutique in Paris in the second. Also, many major cities in France have a ‘point de vente’. I’ve also ordered from them online when the ‘point de vente’ in my town didn’t have what I was looking for.

        • daniella

        Thanks !

      • Janet

      I bought chipotle at Marks and Spencer, La Défense, a few years back. See if they still carry it.

    • Claire

    Mac and cheese is certainly one of the foremost American comfort foods. I like the idea of the ziti and especially the chipotle. Will be making this today. Thanks! And ps, Romain is just as cute as can be!!

    • Sarahb1313

    This is so much like the mac n cheese that I grew up eating made by my mother. We would fight over the crispy sides bottom and top :-)
    Mom would use ALL parmesan cheese and I confess I still love it that way. I have tried lots of other cheeses though.
    We would put a grate of nutmeg into the bechamel sauce which always added just that little something extra.

    Thanks for this- maybe it will find its way into this holiday season table…

      • Maddy B.

      Technique-wise, this is like the béchamel-based M&C in the Silver Palate New Basics cookbook, which I’ve been using for decades. That’s a gruyère-centric version, but the texture you get from the béchamel seems key. I, too, always add some nutmeg to the béchamel, since a French friend told me her mother told her always to do that because nutmeg helps with digestion. (David, is nutmeg in béchamel in fact a French axiom, or was this my friend’s mother’s eccentricity?) In any case, it’s a delicious note with the gruyère, though I’m not sure about nutmeg notes along with chipotle. Will look forward to trying different flavor combos.

        • Katrina

        I’m Australian and when my mum (and grandmum) made béchamel (white sauce in Australian), they always added some nutmeg. White sauce, in my Australian youth, was for cauliflower cheese, and, with added parsley, for salted cod on Good Friday.

    • Harold

    Oh David…you touched memories of the past!..After reading this I was ready to pack the internet in and start back at those magazines in offices,Doctors offices and even at home ripping out recipe pages ever so quietly then into my pocket, and visions of stuffing my new found best As soon as I can.

    Thanks ,I am on this one .

    Harold.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I have friends that worked for food magazines and they very rigorously tested their recipes. Some companies hire (or hired) home economists who had a lot of experience but others had long-time workers in their test kitchens. I wrote some magazine articles and the test kitchen notes they’d send back were generally very helpful.

    • Robert/Susan Rostand

    We beg to differ with you David,but the ne plus ultra award goes to the mc&cheese from Vin Rouge in Durham,NC. In addition to the Conte and chedddar they put in a healthy dose of LARDONS!! To die for!!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Hope they share the recipe with you!

        • Robert and Susan Rostand

        We easily found the recipe on the internet.

          • Gail Grace

          Where? I cannot find it!!

            • Susan Rostand

            Go to Pinterest and type in ‘Gratin de Macaroni (Vin Rouge recipe)—et voilà.

            • Susan Rostand

            It’s on Pinterest.

      • Teresa Engebretsen

      It is indeed to die for! I love Vin Rouge!!

    • CHN

    The recipe looks great but what really caught my eye was the baking pan. Beautiful shape, sleek and elegant; love those handles.

      • Sandy

      I’m with you on the beautiful pan.

    • Gena

    I lived in Seattle. I’ve been to Beecher’s cheese shop at Pike Place Market and have been making “World’s Best for many years. It’s my adult sons favorite. I’ve also had the frozen version from the grocery store, its pretty good as well. So glad you confirmed its goodness!

      • Deborah Fogerty

      Yes, this recipe had me at Beecher’s. I also like the fact that it serves 4 – easy enough to double for a bigger dish. I’ll try it (as grandmother to a “tween”, good to have a simple version in hand).

      • Colleen

      And they used to hand out forkfuls of their Mac and cheese at the store. Fortunately for me, but not for them, that was enough for me. I would have gladly eaten a whole serving, but I am not sure that I would have gotten more happiness from a full serving than from a single bite. (And then there would not have been space for the other delicious foods at Pike Place Market.)

    • Robin Tharaldson

    This sounds amazing! Could this be made the day before and then baked the next day, if kept in the fridge? Trying not to make too many things on Christmas day.

    Robin

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I don’t know but if you’re planning to make it for a special occasion, I’d do a ‘test run’ first and see how it turns out. Let us know if you do!

      • Jane

      Sounds delicious! I think I’d cook the noodles, make the sauce, put in separate containers for the night, then stir together next day, and bake. Otherwise, your noodles may absorb too much liquid and bake up dry. I am always looking for time savers too! Good luck!!

        • Stephane

        This is what I do and it’s perfect. Otherwise, the noodles absorb the sauce and it’s like eating leftovers.

      • Jennifer

      I have very successfully kept unbaked Mac and Cheese in the fridge overnight and baked the next day. My béchamel recipe varies slightly from this one (1/2 c. more milk) but I think it should still work for you.

      • Stu

      I prepared a mac and cheese in full 1 day ahead, then baked the next day using various tips on the internet and it worked out perfectly:
      Prepare sauce and let cool for 30 minutes.
      Cook pasta until al dente, 1 or 2 minutes before the directed cooking time.
      Drain pasta and let cool for about 10 minutes, then mix through 1 to 2 tablespoons butter to very lightly coat the pasta.
      Assemble dish without toppings. Cover and chill. Then when cool, add toppings (cheese, breadcrumbs, dots of butter etc), then cover and refrigerate till next day.
      Next day, bake as per instructions – might need bit longer if fridge cold.

        • Robin Tharaldson

        Thank you for the info! I don’t have time for a test drive so I will follow your directions. Will let you know how it turns out!

    • Karen

    I am going to try this recipe today! I love mac and cheese and make it frequently looking for the “perfect” recipe. This sounds wonderful. I am also going to look for the Beecher’s frozen at the grocery store. Thanks so much for this recipe.

    • Lorraine Fina Stevenski

    Simple is always best with mac and cheese. I make it even richer with 1/2 and 1/2 instead of milk. And I stir in cooked bacon pieces. My cheese choice is sharp cheddar ( I love Tillamook) and Parmigiano Reggiano. A teaspoon of Dijon mustard brightens the dish. Thanks for sharing David.

    • Marguerite

    This is almost exactly how I run with mac & cheese. Not wanting to go overboard with “world’s best” either, I simply call it “my perfected.” I use piment d’Espellete in the sauce but not on top. I crunch up the topping with a mixture of shredded cheddar, parmesan, Panko crumbs and melted butter.

    • Paulette

    Other than the Comte, which is one of my favorite cheeses, this sounds just like the recipe I use from a Southern Living Cookbook I have. I’m going to try Comte next time I make it! I also like to mix some Panko bread crumbs with butter and sprinkle that on top and then bake. The crunch is a nice addition.

    • Kathi

    I dont think I’ve ever used a Mac n cheese recipe. I’ve made for so long I do it by instinct. I do add a tsp or so of colmans dried mustard after flour for roux cooks for a minute. I usually do all cheddar but love it with some Gruyère. Gruyère is so expensive here in NJ.

      • A fellow New Jerseyan

      Try Trader Joe’s.

        • T7

        Thank you for the Trader Joe’s suggestion!

        I found a 10oz block of their cheddar gruyere blend, looking forward to trying this recipe out.

    • Lisa

    Hi David- I’m looking forward to making this, perfect timing since I was looking for another side to make for the holidays :-) do you recommend using a more shallow pan like the one pictured in this post or would a deeper pan/ casserole type dish will work fine? thank you!

    • Terry

    mac n cheese, mmm! all time american comfort food. We always had it with buttered bread cubes on top. Best, as David me mentions, right out of the oven or pan sauteed in butter the next day-gets a delicious crust on it.

    • Mimi Nugent

    This looks wonderful – I can smell it already. My mom was from France and her mac and cheese was superb – this will be my homage to her! Thanks David!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Interestingly, mac & cheese is said to have been inspired and/or invented in France and brought to America by one of Jefferson’s slaves, James Hemings, who he sent to France to learn to cook French cuisine. It possibly was inspired by gratins so it’s not surprising your mother made it well.

        • Ginger

        Mac & Cheese is an ever-present dish at my husband’s family gatherings. His maternal grandparents (both from French-Canadian immigrant families) brought the tradition with them from Quebec and New Brunswick. They say it’s because it was relatively inexpensive to feed a large family (what with government cheese subsidies).

        I lived in Seattle for 15 years, and occasionally had jobs near Pike Place Market. I practically lived off Beecher’s Mac & Cheese during grad school…so good! They use tended to use penne or cavatappi pasta in their recipe. =)

    • witloof

    That last photo is just mouthwatering!

    • Susan B.

    I was shocked to learn recently that my partner of many years has NEVER had mac and cheese–how is this even possible? I thought he had said he didn’t like it (and what’s not to like, especially for someone who likes carbonara?). This looks like the one to try, and soon! Might look for Creamettes, for old times’ sake.

    • Janet

    I made the Mac and cheese featured in the NYT recently…the one that included Velveeta! It was good, but yours sounds and looks better.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I saw that recipe and others like it, which are fine but I do like the crispy top – that’s my favorite part!

      • Sandra McDonough

      Excited to try this and wanted to add that I love your writing style..”Fried chicked stuffed with fried chicken” ..I cracked up..thanks for sharing this.

    • Sue

    That looks like a pretty standard béchamel based version of what here in the UK we call Macaroni Cheese, which is always béchamel based EXCEPT the ratio of cheese to pasta; 170g pasta is on the low side for 4 portions (we eat it as a main, not a side) and so much more cheese than pasta must be very rich, tasty but rich!

    • Paul Eggermann

    David, Thanks for your gret looking dish. I have been a modernist chef for over 10 years and long ago adopted this recipe.

    It is a real killer and uses no flour to make the sauce.

      • rr

      You could also try Heston Blumenthal’s recipe, available on his cheese episode on youtube, in which he uses cornstarch and technique for an ultimate creamy mac and cheese. Would love to hear your comparison.

        • Kat

        Thanks for this. I’ve been looking for a Gluten free recipe with cornstarch instead of flour as the thickener. Catelli GF pasta is actually quite good!

    • Shannon

    David, your mac and cheese looks delicious, so creamy. I am wondering if you have an opinion on sodium citrate? I read about it and thought about how I adored my childhood Kraft mac and cheese. Could I actually reproduce that creamy, dreamy sauce in my own kitchen using cheddar, fontina, Gruyère instead of a powered, processed, velveeta-like “cheeze” substance? And turns out, yes! I could! Crazy creamy! No granular, broken sauce (clearly, I can’t cook and need all the help I can get). But what is it? I’ve researched and read but nothing tells me bottom line whether sodium citrate is a horrific thing no human should ingest or a magical molecular miracle. Do you have an opinion on sodium citrate?

      • Joycelyn

      Sodium Citrate (E331) is the sodium salt of citric acid. It is commonly known as sour salt and is mainly used as a food additive, usually for flavor or as a preservative. It gives club soda both its sour and salty flavors. It reduces the acidity of foods, so it allows spherification with strongly acidic ingredients.

        • Shannon

        Hi Joycelyn. But what does that mean? Dammit Jim, I’m a doctor, not a chemist. :) Good, bad, indifferent? I mean, it sounds like it’s just a thing that exists. So, indifferent? Speak slowly and clearly to me. I’ll try to keep up.

      • Valerie

      Shannon, I don’t know about sodium citrate, and normally I make a Mac & Cheese very similar to this one starting with a Bechamel. But when in a hurry and feeling nostalgic, I have found that the recipe on Serious Eats for 3-Ingredient Stovetop Mac and Cheese tastes exactly like the Kraft out-of-the-box version, without the chemicals added.

    • Tina G.

    Best gratin dish ever . . .

    • Northeastern food fanatic

    David, you crack me up as always! LOL to many of your comments.

    True that articles featuring recipes frequently claim that they are the best ever, but somehow macaroni and cheese recipe articles almost always do.

    I am trying to think of the last time I ate or (same thing) made macaroni and cheese, and I can’t. Years. Many years? I will tuck this one away to try soon.

    One of the best aspects of your blog is that the comments never segue into idiotic political nagging. Sorry to say that this is a relief these days. Opinionated, yes–but that is what the world of cuisine is all about!

    • Francesca

    I make mac and cheese very infrequently because I’m unable to stop eating it. When I do make it, I use about 75% aged cheddar and the rest blue cheese (my favorite it Point Reyes).
    I’ll give your recipe a try when I have other people around to eat it with me so I don’t overdo.

    • Kimberly

    Beechers! I used to work across the street from NYC location. At lunchtime, I would eat my mac n-cheese and watch cheese curds being made.
    I can’t wait to make this! And I like the small sized portion too.

    But their Fig and cheese grilled cheese was amazing too.

    • Kat

    Don’t hate me. Does anyone have a gluten-free option for the bechamel? Sub in GF flour? Add more cheese instead to thicken? Cornstarch? I will not roux the day, if someone can help. :)

      • Karen

      Brown rice flour should work as a wheat flour substitute. There are also some good gluten free pastas available for a completely gluten free dish

    • Susan

    I am currently in Barbados where “macaroni pie” is one of the strongholds of Bajan cooking. You will only find it at “local” places, no West Coast food this!! I had it as a side last night with grilled fish and I hoovered every bit as it is not something I make at home owing to carb/fat content. If given my druthers,like you David, I would eat it often so thanks for featuring it.

    • Kiki San Francisco

    This IS my comfort food when I’m stressed. In fact, I made my husband go out last night to the store and buy me a box of it. That’s how good it is. I’m not a big packaged food eater, if ever, but this is crack for me. Nice to have the recipe!

    • Kelly Monaghan

    I think I spotted a typo in the recipe. Shouldn’t it read “1 serving”?

      • Sunny

      Ha! Came to the comments section to say the same thing. It’s probably 4 French servings (aka 1 American serving)…

    • Robin Tharaldson

    LMAO!!

    • Barbara

    YUM

    • Mia

    In the process of making this right now. Thank you for the recipe. So far, delicious.

    • Catherine Kraft

    I never made a bechamel sauce ..mom just floured the macaroni in each level of butter and cheese and macaroni (Kraft cheddar) then put whole milk in the casserole almost to the top SIGH Simple and the best

    • Katja

    Completely unrelated to the recipe (eventhough it sounds amazing) – but where is this wonderful spoon from? It looks like a very good fit to the recipe, able to scoop out a good portion, heavy and sturdy.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I love that spoon too! It’s from iittala – It has a nice balance, handle, and heft. (I’ve had mine for a long time but they’re available on Amazon, Finnish Design Shop, and Connox.) I think they make them in several sizes and mine is the 9″/23-24cm model so verify the size before ordering.

    • Myk

    This looks lovely – I’ll give it go. I’ve taken to buttering the pan and adding a “dusting” of panko crumbs for mac and cheese lately. It creates a wonderful little crust. You might want to try that some time.

    • Nate

    I’m going to try this. I like the connection to Beecher’s – Their macaroni and cheese really is the best and I stop by and get some every time I’m near Pike Place Market.

    • Susan

    Mac and Cheese was always served as the main dish when I was growing up, with fresh tomatoes on the side (in summer.) My Mom (and me) always added a thick slice of Velvetta in it to keep the sauce from breaking and it seems to smooth it out, as well. I always add a tsp of dry mustard to the flour and, lately, a few dashes of cayenne. We like it saucy, so I do add more milk and I do bread crumbs on top. My method is the same as this one. So good, always a family favorite!

    • Gina from Ohio

    Oh my I have tasted the mix of melted cheddar and gouda and it is perfect ! It is baking in the oven right now. I expect to be totally dazzled and thank you in advance, David. I love my husband but I think I love you too ! Thanks for sharing this.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Glad it was a hit!

    • Betsy

    My Mom’s mac and cheese recipe really IS the best. Her recipe, made with NY State extra sharp cheddar, is very similar to yours. Her secret? “When you think you’ve added enough cheese, add a whole lot more.” Out of this world!

    • Erin Becker

    I’m a HUGE fan of yours David! Your Perfect Scoop books are my bibles. I made this recipe last night, used gruyere and extra aged cheddar. The chipotle chili powder was perfect for my spicy family. Fantastic recipe. C’était délicieux!!!! Merci!

    • Sabrina

    lovely mac and cheese with Comté cheese, very nice, thank you!

    • Sheila Fiekowsky

    This is definitely the best mac & cheese I have ever made! The fact that it is not overly rich makes it a winner! I husband has never liked mac & cheese and has never had seconds before but this time it happened. thank you David.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I like it because it strikes the right balance between cheesy, but not an overload of cheese, and not overly rich. Glad you and your husband liked it too!

    • zora

    I always make mac and cheese and cauliflower cheese with a mornay sauce–first making an onion roux by sauteing finely chopped onion and a little bit of garlic in the butter before adding the flour. A splash of dijon mustard at the end also gives it great depth of flavor.

    • Miss Strangeworth

    Looks fantastic but in what world is 6 ounces of pasta four servings?! I’ll have to triple the recipe. ;)

      • Jeff Winett

      No no no! You will love this as written. I was thinking similarly to you at first, but what was on my plate was absolutely perfect.

    • Deborah

    I’ll try this too, it seems like a riff on James Beard’s recipe (published eons ago in “The Theory and Practice of Coolong”), which was the first Mac and cheese I ever made, and is still my go-to recipe. I think it’s the bechamel base that makes the difference.

    • Laura

    Truly elegant gratin dish!! I just went internetting and can’t find it – might it be available stateside? (By the way … I *so* love the humor embedded in your posts! Uplifting, relatable, enjoyable.)

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      It’s vintage so you’d have to hunt one down, perhaps on Ebay or Etsy? Le Creuset still makes an enameled cast iron gratin dish (in addition to ceramic ones, which aren’t my preference although they are more budget-friendly) which you can buy new, with a different oval shape.

    • Pam

    Just fyi David you can buy this at Seahawk football games from the Beecher Cheese food stand. Hot macaroni and cheese in a cup outside at a game; wonderful!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      That sounds great in cold weather! :)

    • Jeff Winett

    I had my way with your fantastic recipe yesterday. What appealed to me was your “generous” amount of cheese, but not an “overload”, as so many mac&cheese recipes are…also the mixture of Comte and Cheddar sounded so good. I followed your gram weights for this recipe. While preparing the sauce I noted it was rather thick. This is one of those times when it is time to throw intuition out the window. I was thinking the finished dish would be pasty/thick and just o.k. I actually made the dish early in the day, cooled completely, cut into 4 squares, and reheated at dinner in individual gratin dishes. When the first forkful went into my mouth I was one solid grin from ear to ear. It was so creamy, soft, tender and absolutely luscious. Thank you Sir David for this one!

    • Laura “malvaneglecta” Loewen

    This was great! Best mac and cheese I’ve ever had. I used cheddar and gruyere. Your recipes are so trusty– I’ve made a lot of them.

    • Mari

    Dear David,

    I love you. I made this tonight using smoked pimento and all else the same. It is remarkable! I am actually astounded at just how “best” it is! I had doubts at first thinking it may have needed more pasta to sauce ratio – but one bite and it was just right to heaven.

    Like another reader, I covet your gratin dish. I stopped at an estate sale this weekend and found an interesting oval dish from Portugal for $2 and it worked perfectly!

    “World’s Best.” Reminded me of the coffee shop in Elf – which I am watching weekly right now – seems the mac and cheese does live up to the name!

    • Nancy

    Mahalo David for this recipe. Many years ago I lived in Seattle, loved Pike Place Market, loved Beecher Mac and cheese. I moved to Portland and learned that Beechers Mac and cheese could be found in the freezer
    in the upscale grocery for a guilty pleasure. I moved to Hawaii and this was nowhere to be found. I made your recipe tonight for vegetarian houseguests and it was glorious, just like I remembered from the old days. The 6 oz of noodles seemed insufficient but it is so rich, that’s all you need. It goes great with Merrimen’s kahlua pork! Kona lobster!
    Ahi tuna!

    • May EatCookExplore

    This sounds perfect for these cold winter days. I love a rich, cheesy mac n cheese and we are so lucky here in the UK to have lots of great cheddars to use. I’ll definitely be adding Comte to mine too. And now I have cookware envy. I need to hunt down one of these vintage gratin dishes. Thanks for this.

    • maia

    6oz. pasta makes four main dish servings–even French-sized ones? That’s 1.5 oz per person and despite the béchamel and the cheese, this simply doesn’t compute for me. Am I missing something?

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Their original recipe is here (from Beecher’s in Seattle.) It was enough for us 2, with leftovers but you can double the recipe.

    • maia

    Maybe then adjust the serving amounts to 2, possibly with leftovers.

    BTW, I love your blog/newsletter but you might consider doing or having some proofreading done. Lots of typos! I’m an editor when I’m not cooking so it’s a “déformation professionnelle” as the French would say.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      This recipe did make 4 servings for us; there are just two of us and we had leftovers for another two servings but if you want to double the recipe, you could.

    • maia

    And thank you for putting me onto a mac’n’cheese recipe that I can actually contemplate making, and which I’m looking forward to serving as soon as Washington DC stops being so ridiculously warm (almost 70 degrees today). I’ve never found one which calls for less than 1-1.5 lb of cheese all told.

    • Heather

    For what it’s worth, I believe that the Robert’s Absolute Best Brownies from Ready for Dessert are, indeed the World’s Best Brownies. Once I had those I never used another brownie recipe again!

    • Lisa Katz

    I never have milk in the house anymore- do you think oat milk would work? Or an oat milk/ half and half mixture? I’ve subbed oat milk before in recipes that call for whole milk and it has worked well. Last substitution was for curried veg potpies and they turned out deliciously!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I think it would. I’ve not cooked with it but if it’s worked for you in the past it should work here too. Enjoy the recipe!

    • Madame Seattle

    Beechers cheeses are the best and when I fly out of Seattle I’m always hoping that my flight leaves from Concourse B where the Beechers restaurant is so I can buy a serving of their mac & cheese! Have you ever tried their smoked flagship cheese? It’s usually found around the holidays here in Seattle.

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