Favorite Mac & Cheese - Olive Branch Oil & Spice

Favorite Mac & Cheese

Dec 02, 2023

I live in a household of Mac & Cheese (eating) experts. I’ve been tweaking my recipe for years and this is by far the family favorite recipe - baked mac & cheese with cheddar gruyere sauce topped with panko bread crumbs. This is a mainstay at any celebratory dinner and also makes for a comforting weeknight meal.


  • 2 shallots, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/4 cup flour

  • 1 quart heavy cream

  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated

  • 1 cup gruyere cheese, grated

  • 2 sprigs thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs

  • 1 pound short cut pasta such as penne



  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until almost al dente.

  2. While the pasta cooks make the cheese sauce. Heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter at medium high heat in large sauté pan. Add shallots and garlic and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.

  3. Whisk in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir cream, add thyme and simmer until reduced a third.

  4. Whisk in cheese until melted, creamy and thick. Remove from heat and gently stir in pasta. Add to casserole dish.

  5. In a small bowl, melt 2 tablespoons butter then mix in bread crumbs.

  6. Top the mac & cheese with breadcrumb mixture and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Takes 40 minutes

Serves 6-8

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