The Best Mac N Cheese

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes


Recipe by Alex Guarnaschelli (who by the way I think is awesome even though some beg to differ)

  • 10 cups water
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 cups elbow macaroni preferably De Cecco brand, if available (we used whole wheat rigatoni)
  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and lightly crushed with the back of a knife
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups grated Gruyere
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar
  • Worcestershire sauce to taste
  • Hot sauce to taste (left it out, but maybe a little next time)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large pot, bring the water to a rolling boil.
  • Add the salt. Taste the water. It should be salty like sea water.
  • Add the macaroni and stir, with a wooden spoon or large slotted spoon, to ensure the macaroni does not stick to the bottom of the pot as it cooks.
  • Cook until the macaroni is still quite firm, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Pour the macaroni and water into a strainer placed over the sink. Allow the water to drain out, reserving approximately 1 cup of the liquid.
  • In the same pot, bring the cream, garlic cloves, and the reserved cooking liquid to a simmer.
  • Add the mustard and 3 cups of the Gruyere.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Simmer gently, stirring constantly, until the cheese is melted and has integrated with the cream.
  • Add the Parmesan and Cheddar.
  • Stir with a wooden spoon and simmer again until smooth.
  • Add a splash of Worcestershire and a splash of hot sauce. Stir to blend. Taste for seasoning.
  • Add the macaroni to the cream and stir gently to blend.
  • Allow the macaroni to rest on the stove, 5 to 10 minutes, so the pasta absorbs the flavors.
  • Remove and discard the garlic cloves.
  • Fill a baking dish with the macaroni mixture, top with the bread crumbs, the remaining Gruyere cheese and bake 10 to 12 minutes or until the bread crumbs crust on top.
  • Serve immediately.
Nutrition Facts
The Best Mac N Cheese
Amount Per Serving (1 recipe)
Calories 6709
% Daily Value*
Cholesterol 1830.6mg610%
Carbohydrates 301.6g101%
Fiber 13.4g56%
Sugar 40.2g45%
Protein 219.6g439%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.