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Playing Rachael's Ultimate Mac and Cheese


  • Salt
  • 1 pound short-cut pasta, such as macaroni, penne or medium shells
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 8 slices meaty bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion or 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Fine black pepper or white pepper
  • A few grates of nutmeg
  • 3 cups whole milk, room temperature or warm
  • 2 ½ cups shredded Gruyere cheese or a combination of Gruyere and white chedder
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated truffle (optional), white or black, and/or 2 teaspoons truffle-infused oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • ¼ cup finely chopped chives and parsley


Serves: 4-6


Preheat oven to 400˚F. Bring a pot of water to boil for pasta and cook 5 minutes in salted water. Drain.

In a skillet or saucepot, heat oil over medium heat. Add bacon and render 5 minutes, then add onions and garlic, cook 2-3 minutes to tender, and remove to plate. Add butter to pan, and when it foams, whisk in flour, dry mustard, salt and fine black or white pepper, then add room temperature or warm milk, thicken to coat spoon lightly and stir in Gruyere cheese. Add truffles and/or oil, if using. Add back bacon and pasta, and stir to coat.

Transfer to baking dish and top with Parm. Bake 30-35 minutes until brown and bubbly. Top with herbs, let stand 5-10 minutes, then serve.