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How to Make Mac and Cheese Base: Béchamel Recipe
Béchamel starts with a classic French roux of butter, milk, flour, and salt; it becomes Mornay sauce when you add cheese. Wolfgang transforms his béchamel into a Mornay cheese sauce by adding white cheddar and mozzarella cheese, which then becomes the base for his macaroni and cheese—a cheesy, velvety sauce with perfect viscosity.
Wolfgang Puck’s Mac and Cheese Recipe
Prep Time15 min
Total Time40 min
Watch Wolfgang demonstrate how to perfectly cook this recipe here.
- 1 package elbow macaroni, cooked
- 2 cups white cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, torn into small pieces
- 2 cups béchamel*
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
- Salt and pepper
*Béchamel Sauce: Yields 1 qt
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
To make the béchamel:
- In a medium saucepot over medium heat, warm the butter until melted. Gradually add the flour and stir until smooth.
- Cook the mixture for 2–3 minutes, keeping a close eye on it to avoid unwanted burning. In a separate saucepot, heat the milk until it is just about to boil. Add the hot milk to the butter mixture, 1⁄2 cup at a time, constantly whisking. Cook 12 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn heat off. Slowly add 1 egg yolk at a time. Season with salt and nutmeg.
To assemble the macaroni and cheese:
- Preheat oven to 500°F.
- Start with the cooked elbow macaroni. In a large bowl, slowly add the béchamel to coat the macaroni. (Add slowly and with care; the macaroni should not “swim” in the béchamel.) Add in the cheddar cheese and mozzarella, thoroughly coating the macaroni. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Next, put the macaroni and cheese in a medium cast iron skillet. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and place cubed butter on top. Keep the skillet in the oven until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, 8–12 minutes.
While Wolfgang Puck makes his creamy macaroni and cheese with parmesan cheese and mozzarella, explore your options with the following different cheeses:
- Sharp cheddar cheese
- Monterey jack
- Pepper jack cheese