Cozy Baked Mac and Cheese

The Black Cat Kitchen
by The Black Cat Kitchen
8 servings
55 min

It is a rare moment if I turn down Mac and cheese. I actually had only made it from scratch once in my life, and I thought that was pretty crazy considering how easy and wonderful it really is. There is a Mac and cheese we had at this restaurant 8 years ago in Vermont that was life changing. We were able to go back this fall and it held up to our memories. I wanted to create something as close as possible to what they had created. A garlicky, cheesy, warming bowl of goodness.

You must start with fresh-grated cheese. Pre-grated does not melt well due in large part to shelf-stable additives that are put in a lot of them. Take the time to grate the cheese, it will feel very rewarding, I promise. My favorite blend is white cheddar, gouda, and gruyere. After making the roux and baking, at the very end I topped it with breadcrumbs that I had mixed with 3 cloves of fresh-grated garlic. I hope you enjoy!

Recipe details
  • 8  servings
  • Prep time: 25 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 55 min
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Mac and Cheese
  • 1 pound of pasta
  • 1/2 C salted butter (or unsalted and add salt to taste)
  • 1/2 C AP flour
  • 2 C whole milk
  • 2 C heavy cream, or you can use half and half
  • 2 C white cheddar cheese, grated (measure the grated amount)
  • 2 C gruyere cheese, grated (measure the grated amount)
  • 2 C gouda cheese, grated (measure the grated amount)
  • pinch salt and pepper (more salt if using unsalted butter)
  • 4-6 Tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated (not chopped)
Mac and Cheese
Preheat oven to 325
Bring large pot of salted water to a boil
While coming to boil, grate your cheese and set aside
Grate your garlic and toss on plate with breadcrumbs, set aside
Mix your milk/heavy cream together
Add pasta to boiling water and cook until JUST under al dente. You want there to be a little bit of a firmness to the bite.
Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat
When melted, stir in flour, whisking constantly
Stir for one minute and add half of the milk/cream mixture, stirring constantly. It will start to thicken
Add the rest of the milk/cream and continue stirring. It will start thickening which is what you want (making a roux)
Remove from heat and stir in pepper/salt/and 1.5 cups of the cheese
Keep stirring and add another 1.5 cups of cheese
Combine cooked pasta with cheese sauce and pour half into your pan. Cover with 1.5 cups of remaining 3 c of cheese
Cover with the rest of the pasta and top with the remaining cheese
Bake for 10-15 minutes at 325 until golden brown
Top with garlic breadcrumbs and broil for 3-5 minutes for a brown crunch
  • You can choose whatever pasta you want, but I prefer one with lots of nooks and crannies for the cheese to hide out!
  • I recommend using a microplaner to grate the garlic
  • If you don't have a cast-iron to bake in, you can bake in 3 qt baking dish (9x13)
  • Use whatever cheese you like the best
The Black Cat Kitchen
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