Kid-Friendly Cuisine: Dean’s Gourmet Mac & Cheese


All kids like mac n’ cheese. I’ve actually never met anyone under thirteen that doesn’t consider it one of their favorite meals. It’s a family dinner staple, and fortunately for us grown ups with more sophisticated palettes, it’s also a dish that is highly modifiable.

For a gourmet twist on this comfort-food classic, try this (somewhat) quick and simple recipe I came across on by Caroline Drake:

Truffle Oil Macaroni and Cheese (adapted from

Serves 8 -10 people (and makes a great leftover)


  • 1 Pound Curly Cavatappi Pasta
  • 5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 5 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 4 Cups Warm Whole Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Mustard Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Cup Gruyere Cheese, Grated
  • 1 Cup Sharp Cheddar, Grated
  • 1 Cup Pecorino Romano, Grated
  • 1 Cup Parmesano Reggiano
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons White Truffle Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Panko Breadcrumb
  • 1/2 Pecorino Romano, Grated



  1. Preheat Oven To 350 Degrees.
  2. Bring A Pot Of Water To Boil. Add Salt And Cook The Elbow Macaroni Until Al Dente. Drain And Rinse In A Colander.
  3. Warm The Milk In A Small Sauce Pan.
  4. In A Separate Medium Sauce Pan, Melt The Butter Over Medium Heat Until It Begins To Bubble, But Hasn’t Yet Browned.
  5. Add The Flour And Whisk Constantly For 2-3 Minutes Over Medium-Low Heat.
  6. Add The Milk In A Steady Stream And Continue To Whisk For Another 4-5 Minutes. Let The Milk Mixture Cook For Another 3-4 Minutes Or Until It’s Thickened, Stir Constantly.
  7. Add The Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cayenne Pepper, Mustard Powder And One And A Half Tablespoon Of Truffle Oil.
  8. Add In The Gruyere, Pecorino Romano, Parmesan And Cheddar And Stir Until Smooth, 1-2 Minutes.
  9. Remove From Heat And Add The Pasta To The Pot, Stirring To Coat.
  10. Pour The Mixture Into A Greased Baking Dish.
  11. Top With The Breadcrumbs And A Sprinkling Of Pecorino Romano.
  12. Bake For 25-30 Minutes Or Until The Top Is Browned And Bubbly.
  13. Let Sit For 10 Minutes.

You can serve with various toppings like: grilled mushrooms, grilled onions, bacon crumbles, chives, and so on (your ideas welcome in the comments section below!). You can also create your own crumble topping out of you favorite flavored cracker. Just crush them up in a zip lock bag or in a food processor. I top mine with gold fish for the kids. They love it.

Enjoy! And don’t forget to tell me how it goes and how your family liked it!

Do you have any mac n’ cheese recipes?


Gourmet Dad