Tom Jefferson’s Mac and Cheese

I found this recipe from Chef John at



1 lb elbow macaroni
3-4 cups of grated sharp Cheddar cheese, or whatever
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 cups milk
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs plus 1 tbsp butter


Melt butter (1/4 cup) in saucepan on medium heat.  When it starts to foam and bubble, add your 1/4 cup flour.  Stir together with butter.  This makes a light colored and light textured roux.  Cook on medium heat about 3-4 minutes to cook out starch.  Add thyme, cayenne and white pepper into the roux.   Some spices and herb come out better in oil so add it now.  Cook for another minute and then pour in 1 cup milk.  Whisk it in really quickly.   Make sure the milk is cold then you won’t have lumps.  Hot roux plus cold milk equals no lumps.  Add two more cups of milk and there’s your basic white sauce.  Bring to simmer on medium heat.  Grate in fresh nutmeg (get a fresh nut of nutmeg for better taste) or use the powered nutmeg.  Add drips of Worcestershire.  Add 1 tsp salt.  Simmer on medium low for about 8 minutes.  Grate cheese.  Use 3 cups of sharp cheddar.  Turn off heat add cheese.  Save 3/4 cup for the top.  Add teaspoon of Dijon mustard.

Cook 8 oz of pasta if you want it creamier.  Use 16 oz for lighter recipe.

Cook and drain pasta.  Dump into casserole dish.  Pour cheese sauce over the top.  Distribute the cheese sauce into the pasta.  Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top of it.  Take 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs (Asian section of store) and mix it with 1 Tablespoon of melted butter.   Put it on top of the cheese.  This makes a really good crust.

Bake at 400.  You don’t need to cook the inside, everything is hot and cooked and you are just browning the top.  Takes about 20 minutes to brown.  Perfectly crisp crust.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s