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Chef Leonard Hollander's Baked Mac 'n Cheese
Winter comfort food at its best

The best cure for the iciest of winter days is curling up by the fireplace with a glass of gluhwein and a heaping portion of baked mac 'n cheese. Here's a recipe for the latter from one of Chicago's cheese experts, Executive Chef Leonard Hollander of Marion Street Cheese Market. Chef Hollander was just awarded a Bib Gourmand award from the Michelin Guide, recognizing the bistro as an excellent option for diners on a budget.

Chef Leonard’s Baked Mac n’ Cheese

Serves 2-4 

Ingredients

1.5 oz butter – recommended style: Vermont butter or cheese cultured butter

1 oz minced onion

1 oz all purpose flour

6 oz skim milk

3 oz heavy cream

3/4 tsp salt

1 oz gruyere – recommended style: Gruyere 1655 AOC - Le Cret - Switzerland

2 oz aged cheddar (6 months or more) – recommended style: WSDC Tulum aged 1-year, Plain, WI

1 oz chèvre – recommended style: Capriole Farmstead, Greenville, IA

1 oz parmesan – recommended style: Sarvecchio Parmesan – Sartori, Antigo, WI

a pinch of nutmeg

a pinch of cayenne

12 oz cooked pasta - elbow macaroni, small penne, shells or papardelle

 

Topping

2 oz panko bread crumbs

1 oz parmesan

1 oz cheddar

1 oz gruyere

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a 1 qt saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add the onion, sauté until soft for about 3 minutes.

Whisk in the flour until a paste forms. Using a heatproof spatula, stir the roux continuously until it becomes a light blond color.

While whisking, stream in the milk and cream and continue to whisk until the mixture comes to a boil.

Stir in the cheeses, salt, nutmeg, cayenne and continue stirring until the cheeses are incorporated – creating a “mornay sauce”

Toss the hot mornay together with 12oz of your favorite cooked pasta and pour the mixture into a baking dish or pie pan.

In a small bowl, combine the panko, parmesan, cheddar and gruyere. Spread this mixture evenly across the top of the mac n’ cheese.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, until top is golden.