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Sides

Mac 'n' cheese

Mac 'n' cheese
Christina House / Los Angeles Times

Growing up, birthdays might mean Power Rangers-themed slumber parties or an outing to Chuck E. Cheese’s. In my early 20s, I often spent them at a slightly too-expensive restaurant and then went and drank slightly too much at a bar ... Read more

Total time: About 1 hour | Serves 10
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi pasta
  • 1 quart milk
  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 cups grated (about 1 pound) Gruyère cheese
  • 2 cups (about 1¼ pounds) grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 cups (about ½ pound) grated smoked Gouda cheese, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 11/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup drained and chopped pickled jalapeño chiles

Step 1Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package. Drain.

Step 2Place the milk in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat to warm; be careful to watch that the milk does not come to a boil.

Step 3In a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of butter over low heat, then whisk in the flour. Cook over low heat until the mixture comes together to form a roux, about two minutes. Whisk in the hot milkand cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens, about two minutes. Stir in the Gruyère, 1 1/2 cups cheddar and 1 cup of the Gouda cheese. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the nutmeg, black pepper and salt to taste. Add the macaroni and stir. Pour the mixture into a 9- by 13-inch baking dish.

Step 4Melt the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter. In a bowl, stir together the butter, bread crumbs, remaining cheddar and Gouda. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the baking dish. Bake until the top is golden brown and the macaroni and cheese is bubbly, about 35 minutes. About 5 minutes before the dish is finished, sprinkle over the chopped jalapeños.

Step 5Bake until the top is golden brown and the macaroni and cheese is bubbly, about 35 minutes. Then remove and cool slightly before serving.

Note: Adapted from a recipe from Ina Garten.

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