This mac and cheese is so good it will outshine your lovingly prepared mains. It’s a star attraction. I know. I’ve done it to myself. More than once.
This is one of those recipes that you have to be careful with. It’s good. Very good. Crazy good.
But it can be a secret weapon as well. Imagine you are going to a pot luck and you want to be the one that blows everyone away.
This is a dish that can do it. The ultimate sleeper side. Killer mac and cheese. Absolutely killer.
One mac and cheese to rule them all
I know this sounds like a pretty tall claim. It’s mac and cheese after all.
You’re thinking – “Mine is pretty damn good. Why would I bother? Everyone loves mine”.
Maybe that’s true but has anyone ever begged you to serve leftovers for breakfast? I have.
“Forget bacon and eggs. Not interested in lox and cream cheese. We want the mac and cheese”.
Gruyere and cheddar make it special
It’s about more. More cheese. Creamy béchamel. There’s no real secret here.
Just clobber you over the head more. More flavour. Better texture. Crazy rich.
It’s somewhere between a regular mac and cheese and lasagna.
There’s no bread crumbs. There’s no tomato. And there’s no pinch of this and touch of that. It’s about cheese and pasta.
The complexity comes from the gruyere and cheddar. And there’s cheese melted on top. Just because that’s better.
If you want to go absolutely crazy add pulled pork. You don’t have to. But that adds a whole extra layer of wow. Real pulled pork though. Not the slow cooker stuff.
It’s pretty easy to make as well. Cook your pasta al dente. Make a béchamel. Melt the cheese into it. Add the pasta. Top with more cheese. Bake. Let stand. Serve. Bask in adulation from everyone who tries it.
This is not health food. It’s not food for when you are watching your weight.
This is going for gold. Win at all costs. Sinful. But every now and then sinful is OK. Life is too short for bad food.
killer mac and cheese
- 1 lb small shell pasta – conchiglie
- 6 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 4 cups milk
- 1 lb gruyere grated
- 12 oz old cheddar grated
- 1 tsp salt
- 6 -12 oz pulled pork finely chopped optional but oh so magical
- Preheat your oven to 375F.
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to boil. For guidance – generously salted means it tastes like the ocean.
- Cook the pasta until just under the recommended time and drain. It will continue cooking as it bakes so you don’t want it overly soft after boiling.
- Mix the grated cheeses. Reserve around 4 oz of cheese.
- Heat the milk but don’t let it boil.
- In a 2 quart saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Mix in the flour and cook gently for 2 minutes. You don’t want the mixture to colour. After two minutes start adding the warm milk a couple of tablespoons at a time to start mixing constantly. Once you have about a half a cup incorporated you can start adding the milk faster, maybe half a cup at a time. Once you’ve added all the milk bring it to a gentle, gentle boil. It will thicken at this point. If this sounds familiar it’s because you are making a béchamel.
- Add the salt.
- Off heat, add the cheese mixture a handful at a time stirring constantly. After the cheese has incorporated, add the next handful. Repeat until all but the reserved cheese remains. This is called a mornay sauce if you like cooking trivia.
- Fold in the pasta and pork if using and mix. Transfer the mac and cheese mixture to a 10×14 inch oven proof baking dish. Sprinkle the reserved cheese overtop. Cover with tin foil and bake 30-40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes to brown. You may need to broil it briefly. If you do watch it closely. That’s it. Easy and crazy good.
29 thoughts on “killer mac and cheese”
Great recipe, for the vegetarians add some smoked “facon”. In the UK there is a brand (or isn’t 😉 ) with a black and white box that I use adds some lovely smokiness to it and some protein. I also crush up some tortilla chips and add them to the cheese that goes on top for a bit of crunch (personal preference) but every time we serve this, people can be found in the kitchen picking at what’s left in the dish even when it’s cold 🙂
Just to add to the good folk at Glebe, I steal many of your recipes and adapt them to vegetarian recipes too, love all the Indian range, keep up the good work
Great tip. Thank you very much.
That’s not stealing in my books. That’s innovating!
Am making this on Saturday for the non-pork eating grandchildren. Will add chicken. Will also prepare sauntered red and yellow peppers with onions and bacon bites on the side to add in. I know this will be a “killer!”
It is killer with no added protein so it’s going to be awesome!
I want to make this mac and cheese (sounds “killer”) and of course add your pulled pork suggestion to it but I’m wondering if its sweet pork pork? Most of the pulled pork recipes end up on the sweet side…whats your suggestion to use?
I’m a bit of a pulled pork purist so this problem never occurred to me. My bad. My pulled pork is dry rub and smoke low and slow. Once the pork is pulled I season with more dry rub. That’s it. Sauce on the side for those that want it. So not sweet and no tomato.
I wrote this recipe using smoked pork butt. Not sauced pork butt. I’d be inclined to leave it out if all I had was sauced pork. BBQ sauce in mac and cheese isn’t going to be very good I don’t think.
I’ve added a note to the recipe. Thanks for pointing this out!
I had some left over Lechon Asado and wanted to do something different with it. We had some gruyere and extra sharp cheddar in the fridge, so I thought of using them all together in some mac and cheese. Did a search on Pinterest for some inspiration, and up popped your recipe. I figured it was basically Cuban pulled pork, so this was exactly what I had in mind, and it was excellent. Thanks!
You are welcome! Sounds perfect with the Lechon.
Well…you have always come through! We didn’t have pulled pork, but a slow roasted bbq brisket did the trick! The mom who only eats when we ‘Glebe’ declared, “These shells! I want to shove my face in them!” Translation- she ate three full servings! Everyone else requested seconds. Glebe Kitchen does it again!
When we “Glebe”. I absolutely love that. You put a big smile on my face with that one!
Glad your mom is enjoying/eating. 3 servings:-)
The pics are gorgeous! Cant wait to try this recipe! Rsaha, 1 lb of pasta doesn’t sound like enough to merit 4 cups of milk. It just seems like a lot of Mornay sauce.
Thank you. It may seem like a lot of mornay sauce but just wait until you try it. It’s just the right amount.
I made this a few times and it’s absolutely delicious. I happened to have some left over pulled pork that I added. As you suggested and it certainly elevated the dish.
Glad you had a chance to try it with the pulled pork. Great either way but I think better with it if you have it.
I love this recipe and just wanted to add that there are times that I know I will be busy, so what I do is make extra and freeze serving size portions. It really works so well and takes approx i hour at 375 to heat from frozen. It is an absolute joy to know when you are busy with other things that you can look forward to this lovely meal. I absolutely love it with or without the pork. Droooooooling.
I’m so glad you like it and thank you for taking the time to come back and leave a comment. I never thought about freezing it but that’s a great idea!
This recipe was so easy to make!! I’m not sure if I didn’t boil enough pasta (it looked like a pound to me) but I had too much bechamel… well I mean I just removed some and stored it for another day so Im not complaining!
The sauce was absolutely delectable. #thatgruyere
Thanks for another successful recipe 🙂
Shared it on fb 🙂
Gruyere will do it every time! Love this cheese…and anything with it in it, especially mac and cheese!
Gruyere is one of my faves as well. Melt it any chance I get!
Looks so good! I love the idea of adding pulled pork in mac and cheese, too!
It’s good even without the pulled pork but the pork puts it right over the top…
This looks soooo good!! Love the idea of the pulled pork! Your pictures are stunning! They’re making me hungry! 😉
Thank you so much for the compliment. That makes my day!
Never thought of adding pulled pork to mac and cheese – great way to use leftover pulled pork because I always make too much!
Too much pulled pork. I can’t imagine:-)
Great idea. I’ve never tried to make mac and cheese balls. Something for next time!
Love the idea of pairing it with pulled pork! Also would love trying to fry this into Mac n cheese balls since it looks thicker than our usual Mac n cheese!
Oooh, I like the addition of pulled pork to the mac n cheese! Um, yes please! This looks heavenly.
It’s really good with or without the pulled pork (but I like it better with:-)