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Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese
6 votes, 4.00 avg. rating (79% score)
by in Jan 2009

Total Time: 25

Yield: 6 servings

There are loads of ways to make macaroni and cheese, and I make no judgment if you find yourself reaching for a box with a silver packet of dried dairy to satisfy your need more or less instantly. I will say, however--again without judgment--that this recipe is easy and far more satisfying. The onion and cayenne add another layer of flavor and keep this dish from becoming a heavy, gloppy mound of melted cheese (not that there's anything wrong with that). If I'm really seeking comfort via cooking, I've been known to get this little party started with some savory extra flavor: Chop up 4 or 5 slices of bacon and saut


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 6 ounces grated fontina or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups unseasoned bread crumbs (preferably panko-style)


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook macaroni about 2 minutes less than package instructions indicate, so that it still has a slight crunch to it. Drain and set aside. Butter a 9x13-inch casserole pan. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 6 tablespoons butter and cook onion gently until softened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Whisk in flour and cayenne to form a thick paste. Cook, whisking continuously, about 2 minutes. Whisk in milk until smooth, and cook, whisking occasion-ally, until thickened and bubbly. Whisk in heavy cream. Whisk in cheeses. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add cooked macaroni and stir well to coat.

Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake 20 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Updated Wednesday, December 10th, 2008
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5 Responses to Mac and Cheese

  1. penni micca January 3, 2009 at 4:32 pm #

    Mac and cheese was fabulous! How could it not? With the amount of cream and cheese in this recipe — it is cetainly a special occasion recipe — not one we’d make weekly — or monthly for that matter.

  2. Lisa Rollins January 8, 2009 at 10:12 pm #

    Hot bubbly, oozing cheese, who could ask for anything better on a cold winter’s night? It was only made better by the fact I was out of milk and only had half & half instead. Oh well, such is life. I can’t really say I was overly impressed with the panko crumbs. They didn’t really add anything to the flavor. Next time I’ll stick with the regular bread crumbs, or better yet, the tried and true potato chip crumbs.

  3. Anonymous January 7, 2010 at 9:13 pm #

    Add cooked chopped broccoli and diced ham and you have a whole meal in one dish.

  4. Anonymous January 22, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

    Way yummy!! I too prefer Panko to other bread crumbs as a binder or for saute … lighter and crispier. And I now use Penne pasta vs. elbow mac simply because it’s able to hold more cheesy sauce inside the noodle. Thanks for another great recipe!

  5. Marie Kohlhorst March 4, 2010 at 8:47 pm #

    Great recipe, loved the flavors and all the cheeses. Not so crazy about all the bread crumbs, maybe less. Otherwise, yummy!

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