How to Make Masterful Mac and Cheese, According to the Golf Chef

Making restaurant-quality mac and cheese at home is possible – just follow these tips.

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With the Fourth of July and barbecue season quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to dig into one of the most popular and universally satisfying side dishes: mac and cheese.

Widely considered the ultimate comfort food, mac and cheese is one of those concoctions that, some would say, can’t be bad. Even a bad pot of mac and cheese, they will say, is still pretty good.

We totally disagree. One of life’s great culinary disappointments is taking a bite of what appears to be a stellar rendition of the dish, only to discover that the cheesy pasta is bland, overcooked, or off-putting in texture. The ultimate tragedy? It’s all of those things.

Fortunately, such unfortunate mistakes are easily avoided, and with the advice of Chris Ferrier, the executive chef at Lansdowne Resort (and someone who harbors a healthy fanaticism for mac and cheese), we’re here to guide you along the way delicious and cheesy. -the joy of pasta. (We’ve shared her three-cheese recipe below.)

It probably goes without saying, but the most important ingredient is cheese. That said, not just any cheese will do. Ferrier prefers whole milk cheeses, such as New School American and Comté, an unpasteurized cheese from eastern France, which is his favorite. “Creamy, gooey cheeses that melt well are best,” he advises. “And you have to grate them by hand. Never use commercial (grated) cheese that has been treated with anti-caking agents.

Chef Ferrier also advocates mixing cheeses with different flavors, like creamy and nutty ones, with others that have earthy tones, like Taleggio, which is not only earthy but also tangy. Just make sure the cheeses you select aren’t fatty or mixed with oil. “It makes the finished product greasy,” he says.

As for pasta, Ferrier emphasizes the importance of shape: tubular models or pasta with holes or ridges are essential, as these textured areas will allow the cheese sauce to adhere better. Cavatappi, ditalini and elbow macaroni work best. Also, stick to dried pasta. “Dried, it is firmer and better resists cooking, mixing with a béchamel sauce, then cooking,” explains the chef. “Just be careful not to overcook the pasta. The best is al dente. Remember that it will be baked in the oven at the end.

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Don’t shy away from rich, indulgent ingredients either. When it comes to selecting butter and milk, Chef Ferrier insists on using whole fat examples. He also likes to save a small portion of the water used to cook pasta and add it to the cheese sauce. “That little bit of starchy water can act as a binder,” he explains.

Finally, for those who want to enhance their mac and cheese with indulgent toppings, Ferrier cites lobster, andouille sausage, Chesapeake crab meat, asparagus or truffles as ideal accompaniments. Just make sure any meats or vegetables (except truffles) are blanched or precooked.

“Adding ingredients or toppings is no different than what you do when you make an omelet or scrambled eggs,” he explains. “Add any you want, just make sure they can bind to the pasta and cheese sauce.”

Macaroni and three cheeses


– 1 lb of elbow macaroni
– 5 cups of whole milk
– 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
– 1 small onion or shallot, finely chopped or sliced
– 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or minced
– 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
– 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
– 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
– 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
– 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
– 3 cups grated cheddar cheese
– 1 cup of grated Comté
– 1 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano, divided
– 3/4 cup plain fine breadcrumbs, preferably homemade


– Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

– In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni until just al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain and return to the pot.

– In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt a tablespoon of butter, then add the shallot and garlic and cook until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the milk and bring to the boil.

– In another large saucepan, melt six tablespoons of butter over medium heat, then add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned (about 5 minutes). Remove from fire.

– Gradually add the simmering milk to the flour-butter mixture until you obtain a smooth consistency. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook over low heat, whisking, until thick and bubbling (about 7 minutes).

– Add the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Add the cheddar, Comté and 3/4 cup parmesan and cook over low heat, stirring, until just melted.

– Add the cheese sauce to the macaroni pan and stir until well combined. Then transfer to a 3-quart baking dish.

– In a medium skillet over low heat, melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter, then add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring constantly, until coated. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan.

– Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the macaroni, then bake until lightly browned and bubbly (about 25 minutes).

– Remove the baking dish from the oven and preheat the grill.

– When the grill is hot, brown the macaroni under the grill for 10 to 15 seconds, taking care not to brown the breadcrumbs.

– Remove the dish from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.

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