Ultimate Mac N’ Cheese

Mac N Cheese.jpeg

If I were to die today this Mac N’ Cheese would remain as my greatest contribution to human kind. This recipe and my Hot Jamz playlist on Spotify.


But seriously—this is the one that started it all. Long before I created this website or started developing recipes, I had this recipe written down in a Word doc that I would share with friends and family. It was the first recipe that was all mine—and delicious to boot.


The skeleton of this recipe comes from Ina Garten’s classic Mac N’ Cheese but is made more savory with the addition of shallot and Dijon mustard in the roux. A crispy and flavorful bread crumb topping is elevated by the addition of freshly grated parmesan cheese. What makes this a recipe that I’m so deeply proud of is the combination of smoked gouda and sharp cheddar. They’re so perfectly balanced and robust that I’m shocked I don’t see the combination more often. This dish is equally delicious with or without the bread crumb topping so feel free to skip steps 6 & 7 for and even easier dish.

Serves 6.


·      1-pound elbow macaroni

·      8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter

·      ½ cup all-purpose flour

·      1 shallot- finely diced

·      2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

·      1-quart whole milk-at room temperature

·      8 ounces smoked gouda cheese-finely diced

·      8 ounces sharp cheddar-shredded

·      4 ounces parmesan cheese- freshly shredded

·      ¾ cup fresh bread crumbs

·      ¾ cups panko bread crumbs

·      2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

·      Freshly cracked black pepper

·      Kosher salt


1.     Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.     Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the macaroni and cook according to the al dente directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

3.     Return the pot to the stove and melt the butter over medium-low heat. When the butter is melted add the shallot and cook for 2 minutes until soft and fragrant. Add the flour and cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Add the Dijon mustard and whisk until combined.

4.     While whisking, add the milk and cook for 2 minutes, until thickened and smooth. Add the gouda, cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, and pepper.

5.      Add the cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

6.     In a medium bowl mix together the fresh breadcrumbs, panko bread crumbs, parmesan, and olive oil. Stir until evenly combined and season to taste with salt and freshly cracked pepper.

7.     Sprinkle bread crumbs across the top of the macaroni. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly. Serve hot.