I’ve found it. I know you’ve been looking for it, but it’s here, you can end your quest.
My friend Diana makes the best mac and cheese that I’ve ever had. Not too long ago, I asked for her recipe and she told me it’s Martha Stewart’s as posted on Food52. I made it soon after for our friends Harry and Chris as a housewarming gift and they declared it the best mac and cheese they’d ever had.
I made it for our friends Jonathan and Ryan for Jonathan’s birthday (see lead pic) and they both said it was the best they’ve ever had. And I made it last night for our friend John’s birthday and he and his husband Michael and their son Miles also swooned:
What makes it so good? For starters, there’s a lot of cheese. Over a pound of sharp white cheddar and half a pound of Gruyere.
(I recommend buying it whole like this and shredding it in your food processor. It’ll taste better.)
Then there’s the “sauce” that hold it all together: it’s over a quart of whole milk, thickened with flour and butter, that you flavor with nutmeg (grate it fresh; I can’t believe Ina uses pre-ground! That’s so chilling), cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. You add a bunch of the cheese and par-cooked macaroni.
Then you pour that into a baking dish and top with even more of the cheese (I add whatever Parmesan I have to the topping mixture, just for a little extra zip).
But that’s not all! If that were all, it would just be a very good mac and cheese, not the one MAC AND CHEESE TO RULE THEM ALL.
Here’s the deal: you take six slices of white bread, cut the crusts off, and cut what’s left into cubes. You toss those cubes with butter and put that on top of everything.
What does that do?
It makes a crunchy topping that puts this mac and cheese over the top and makes it the best you’ll ever have. My little trick is to broil it at the end to get it extra dark and crispy.
So here it is, folks. The only mac and cheese recipe you’ll ever need. Maybe if you’re nice to me, I’ll make it for you someday. Otherwise, here’s the link again.