Chef Jamie's The Most Amazing Stovetop Mac N Cheese Recipe

January 07, 2013

This is a new favorite

Chef Jamie says: After much testing and tasting, this is Lana's and my new favorite Mac n' Cheese...and Trust me, we tried it lots of ways! My friends voted too, and the crispy bits of toasted cheese that develop from the smoking-hot heat of the cast iron pan, were the winning trait. For the Becahmel Sauce, we experimented with a multitude of cheeses including 2-year Aged Cheddar, Tallegio and Fontina, and the Fontina reigned supreme, based on its flavor and ooey gooey qualities. Choose the cheese of your choice or combine them for extra umami, but do make sure to heat the pan thoroughly before making the Mac. Enjoy!
This recipe serves 4 as a side dish.

1 pound macaroni or penne rigate or fusilli
2 tablespoons unslated butter
1/4 cup diced shallot
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
12 ounces Fontina cheese or aged white cheddar cheese, shredded
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. 
Add 2 tablespoons salt and the pasta and stir well. Cook according to the package directions. Drain it and set it aside.

Meanwhile, to make the Bechamel Sauce, melt the butter for the sauce in a saucepot over medium heat. 
Add the shallot and bay leaf and sauté until the shallots are soft and begin to caramelize, stirring often, about 5 minutes. 
Remove the bay leaf. Add the flour, and cook for one minute, stirring constantly.

Slowly add the milk, a little at a time, whisking constantly to avoid lumping. 
When the flour and milk have been completely combined, stir in the cream. 
Bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula, until it thickens, about 3 minutes. 
Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the mustard, cheese and salt and pepper. Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes and set aside.

Place a cast iron skillet over med-high heat until almost smoking. 
Carefully add the olive oil and then the cheese sauce (it will bubble vigorously). 
Stir with a spatula, like an omelet, as the cheese toasts a bit on the bottom of the pan. After 1 minute, add the drained cooked noodles. Toss the pasta thoroughly with the sauce and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until you have about one-quarter of the mixture is golden brown from the bits of toasted cheese. Serve and dig in!

Jamie Gwen is a Celebrity Chef, Certified Sommelier, Lifestyle Expert and four-time Cookbook Author.For the past 13 years, she has brought the best to radio with her weekly Live Radio Show filled with delicious conversation, heard every Sunday from 8:00am to 10:00am on KFWB News Talk 980 in Southern California and heard worldwide on iTunes and the Internet.

Jamie can also be heard on Martha Stewart Living Radio on Sirius/XM and she can be seen stirring up something delicious on television shows and in print nationwide.

Jamie’s most recent cookbook entitled “Good Food For Good Times 2” is now available as an eBook and has been featured on Emeril Live, Martha Stewart and QVC. She is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and her website,, is a scrumptious resource for food lovers everywhere.