Recipe courtesy of Veronica Chambers, Alexander Smalls, and JJ Johnson

Spiked Rosemary Macaroni and Cheese Pie with Caramelized Shallots

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 15 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Macaroni and cheese is such a Harlem staple that we knew we had to make ours special. Alexander has always done his with rosemary, which gives it a nice earthy flavor. We threw in caramelized shallots for sweetness and texture. Rosemary and shallots are both such simple adds, but also unexpected. We think this will be your new favorite mac.



  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot; stir in 1 tablespoon of the salt and the pasta; cook according to the package directions for al dente pasta. Drain well. 
  3. While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet over low heat combine the oil, the shallots, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook the shallots over low heat until they begin to fall apart and caramelize, 20 to 30 minutes. Once caramelized, remove from the skillet and set aside. 
  4. Bring the cream to a simmer in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Make sure the cream does not come to a boil. Stir in the cheeses. Add the rosemary and cook, whisking often, over medium-low heat, for 2 to 3 minutes, until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the pepper and the remaining 2 teaspoons salt. 
  5. Stir in the cooked pasta and caramelized shallots. 
  6. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 3-quart baking dish. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. 
  7. Remove from oven; let stand for 10 minutes before serving. 

Cook’s Note

Make sure your mac and cheese has a creamy but not mushy texture by not overcooking the pasta in the first step. It should be slightly undercooked or to just al dente (with a little firmness when tested before draining). The pasta will continue to cook after the cheese sauce is added and the dish is baked. Like most great sauces, the cheese sauce is best done over a low simmer. Don’t rush it! Boiling the cream and cheese mixture will cause it to break and result in a gritty and not smooth sauce.