Recipes Main Courses Pasta Rice and Grains Truly Amazing Mac and Cheese

Truly Amazing Mac and Cheese

Truly Amazing Mac and Cheese is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 6.
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

If your kids prefer mac and cheese from a box, with its powdered “cheese” product, ban the boxed stuff for a few months and it will fade from memory. Then introduce this recipe, with its aged Gruyère and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Almost every kid will love it at once. 

Ingredients:

For the sauce:  

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter 
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 3 cups milk 
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced 
  • 1/2 bay leaf 
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  •   
  • 1/2 lb. macaroni shells or other shape 
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter 
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed grated hard cheeses such as aged cheddar, Gruyère and Parmigiano-Reggiano 
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter a 10-inch square or similar baking dish, or 4 to 6 individual baking dishes.

To make the sauce, in a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, until the mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk, 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition until smooth. Return the pan to medium heat and whisk until the mixture comes to a boil. Add the onion, bay leaf and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl and cover to keep warm. You should have about 2 1/2 cups.

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), according to the package instructions. Drain, transfer the pasta to a bowl and stir in the butter. Add the sauce, 1 cup of the cheese and the cream, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the pasta into the prepared dish and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the top. Bake until golden and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Family Meals, by Maria Helm Sinskey (Oxmoor House, 2008).

Rated 2 out of 5 by from Needs more cheese While this recipe came out very creamy, with a nice consistency, I thought that it was lacking cheese. My other issue is that it came out fairly bland except for the flavor of the onions.
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent though altered. I enjoyed this recipe but did change it up ever so slightly. Given the sauce is already essentially a bechemel After straining the mixture I added it back to the saucepan and slowly added the cheese to it. Also skipped the heavy cream part. Turned out quite nice
Date published: 2016-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Definate Keeper I can not express how much I love this Mac & Cheese. I have made it three times since finding the recipe here a month ago. I used the same cheeses recommended in the recipe and the only change I made was another pinch of the nutmeg and two bay leaves (I love those flavors together). I made this for a small get together and everyone loved it.
Date published: 2015-07-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! Great Taste for Such a Simple Recipe I've tried several mac and cheese recipes (and have found some good ones) but I really like this because it's simple and I don't need to spend too much time or use too much cheese to get a great cheesy flavor. I used 1/2 a cup each, white (light)cheddar, Gruyere and Parmigiano-Reggiano. I used two cups skim milk and 1 cup whole milk, but I'm going to try 3 cups skim next time. It took much longer for the milk/sauce to boil than indicated in the recipe, so I ended up turning the heat up just a little more than directed. All in all, it was a great outcome and this will probably be one of my go-to recipes for good and quick mac and cheese. My family loved it. Thanks WS!!!
Date published: 2015-03-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfection I used onion powder (my daughter can spot an onion a mile away); left out the bay leaf and nutmeg, otherwise followed the recipe with the exception of sprinkling crushed wheat Ritz crackers over the cheese topping. My kids had two servings! I've made many a mac & cheese that they've turned their noses up to, this one is a keeper..
Date published: 2013-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The whole family loves it! I was skeptical that the kids would like this recipe. They REALLY love it. They won't even eat the boxed stuff any more. I would highly recommend this recipe to any family. It takes a little planning to time the cheese sauce and everything else. We add a chicken breast (cubed) and sometimes chopped up bacon. We also put a bit more of the cheeses. For the first time out, I would follow the recipe as written. It's still very delicious. We also sprinkly bread crumbs on the top before putting in the oven.
Date published: 2012-04-06
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