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Gruyere, Garlic and White Wine Mac

This is a deceptively elegant mac ‘n’ cheese. The garlic and white wine add bite and nuance, and make the dish smell like paradise in a pan. Serve with a simple salad made of butter lettuce and mâché (also known as lamb’s lettuce) sprinkled with a bit of vinaigrette, and a cold glass of California Chardonnay alongside.

Gruyere, Garlic and White Wine Mac

Cook time

40 minutes

Serving size

6 servings


  • 8 oz [230 g] elbow, spiral, or other short pasta of your choice
  • 1/3 cup [40 g] all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp dry mustard powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or more if you like an extra kick
  • 6 Tbsp [85 g] salted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup [60 ml] dry white wine such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 ½ cups [360 ml] whole milk
  • 1 cup [240 ml] heavy cream
  • 6 oz [170 g] Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz [230 g] milk or medium cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz [115 g] fontina cheese, shredded
  • 1 thick slice bread, torn into pieces

Recipe Preparation

  1. Bring a medium saucepan of generously salted water (so it tasted like seawater) to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and stir immediately. Boil the pasta, stirring occasionally, just until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes or according to the package directions. Drain the paste in a colander and set aside.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, mustard powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper and set aside.
  3. Put the empty past pan (no need to wash it) over medium-low heat and add the butter. When the butter is melted, whisk in the minced garlic and the flour mixture. Cook, whisking often, until the mixture is beginning to brown and has a pleasant, nutty aroma, about 1 minute. Watch carefully so it does not burn.
  4. Slowly whisk the wine, milk, and cream into the butter-flour mixture, combining well. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is heated through and just begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  5. Add 4 oz [115 g] of the Gruyere, the cheddar, and the fontina to the sauce gradually, while stirring constantly in one direction with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. Stir until the cheese is melted into the sauce, then stir in the cooked pasta. Set aside.
  6. Put the torn bread in a food processor and pulse until fine bread crumbs form, or chop finely by hand. In a small bowl, toss the bread crumbs with the remaining Gruyere. Set aside.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, with the convection option on, if you have it. Butter an 8-ibn glass of metal baking dish, or coat with nonstick cooking spr
  8. Pour the macaroni and cheese into the prepared dish and sprinkle evenly with the bread crumb mixture. (At this point, you can cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 2 days.) Bake, uncovered, until the topping is toasted and crunchy and the sauce is bubbling around the edges, about 20 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
  9. Ladle the mac into bowls and serve.
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