Quintessential Mac N Cheese

Total Time:
1 hr
25 min
35 min

8 servings

  • 5 cloves chopped garlic, plus 3 cloves whole garlic
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoons paprika, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 quarts water, boiling
  • 1 pound dry elbow macaroni
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Olive oil, to taste
  • 1 pound aged sharp Cheddar
  • 3/4 cup white Cheddar
  • 3 ounces Asiago
  • 3 ounces Pecorino
  • 3 ounces Gorgonzola
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 lemon, juiced, 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 2 teaspoons finely ground Mediterranean sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 3 organic eggs, beaten
  • For the pesto:
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 ounces basil leaves
  • 2 ounces raw pine nuts
  • 1 -ounce feta cheese
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For the cream sauce:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • French bread, cut diagonally
  • Unsalted butter, as needed
For the pasta:
For the cheese sauce:
For the pasta:
  • Prepare pasta stock by adding 5 cloves garlic, bay leaves, salt, pepper, paprika, smoked paprika, to the water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Strain stock and return liquid to the pot. Bring to a boil and add macaroni until done. Strain pasta and toss with dry mustard. Toss in salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste.

  • For the cheese sauce:

  • Grate all the cheeses, making sure to keep Asiago and Pecorino separate from the Cheddars. Crumble the Gorgonzola cheese. Melt the butter and add the flour through a fine-mesh sieve. Add cream and creme fraiche. Add dry mustard, Dijon mustard, paprika, smoked paprika, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Add Gorgonzola and Cheddar cheeses to the sauce, returning to low heat.

  • Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and add egg, combine well. Top with grated Asiago and Pecorino. Put in individual crocks and bake until bubbly golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.

  • For the pesto:

  • Blend the olive oil, lemon zest, basil, pine nuts, feta, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor to make basil pesto.

  • For cream sauce:

  • In a saucier, combine the heavy cream, creme fraiche, Dijon mustard, dry mustard, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook on medium heat until flavors meld and sauce reduces.

  • Cut bread into 8 toastettes. Season with salt, pepper and butter. Put in oven to toast. Remove and drizzle with basil pesto and cream sauce.

  • Serve macaroni and cheese and serve immediately with toastettes.

Professional Recipe: This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional and makes a large quantity. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe in the proportions indicated and therefore cannot make any representation as to the results.

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