Alex Guarnaschelli’s Macaroni and Cheese Has an ‘Umami Quality’ That Makes It Simply Irresistible

Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli’s Macaroni and Cheese is a decadent spin on the classic dish.

And the Alex vs. America host packs this recipe with irresistible flavor thanks to a few choice ingredients.

Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli
Alex Guarnaschelli | Jason Koerner/Getty Images

Guarnaschelli’s mac and cheese departs from traditional recipes to intensify the cheesy flavor

As the Chopped judge wrote in her cookbook Cook with Me of her play on this timeless dish, if you think you’ve tried every kind of mac and cheese out there, you haven’t.

“This is such a classic, and my version highlights a pure, rich, and comforting cheese flavor,” she writes.

How does she accomplish this? By eliminating a step found in most mac and cheeses: the roux.

“I skip the roux (a mixture of butter and flour cooked with milk or cream) as a base and start by melting grated Gruyère, Parmesan, and sharp Cheddar directly into warmed cream instead,” she continues. “I’ve always felt that a roux dulls the other flavors and almost clashes with the floury nature of the macaroni itself.”

For added flavor, Guarnaschelli adds Dijon and Tabasco sauce, as well as Worcestershire sauce for “salt and the umami quality that keeps you coming back for more.”

If you’re vegan or vegetarian, skip the Worcestershire, since it contains anchovies. The chef suggests you go with soy sauce instead.

Another delicious version of mac and cheese from chef Alex Guarnaschelli

How to make Alex Guarnaschelli’s macaroni and cheese

The Supermarket Stakeout host starts this dish by preparing the macaroni and setting it aside to strain out any excess water. Save a little of the pasta cooking liquid for the cheese sauce.

Using the same pot the macaroni was cooked in, simmer the heavy cream, garlic cloves, and the saved pasta water. Stir in the mustard and shredded Gruyère making sure to salt and pepper as you go along, to taste.

Stir the sauce constantly until the cheese has melted. At this point, the grated Parmesan and Cheddar can be added and stirred until the sauce is smooth.

Now the Worcestershire and hot sauces can be mixed in, as well as the cooked pasta. The chef notes that the garlic cloves can be “removed and discarded” at this point since they were included simply for the flavor.

Pour the macaroni mixture into a baking dish, top with bread crumbs and more Gruyère, then bake for about 12 minutes in a 350-degree F oven.

Get the complete recipe and reviews on Food Network’s site.

Home cooks called Guarnaschelli’s Macaroni and Cheese a ‘hit’

Reviewers on Food Network’s site were impressed with the culinary star’s comforting, flavorful mac and cheese.

“Made this a couple of times and was a hit!! Everyone loved it, no leftovers!!,” one home cook said.

Another wrote, “Just a great take on mac and cheese. … I would definitely make this again.  Even my husband, who loathes mac and cheese, went back for seconds.”

Lastly, one reviewer noted that the chef’s recipe had a firm spot in their meal rotation: “The flavor of the gruyere really comes through, and the baked breadcrumbs are a super bonus! Making it again tonight for Sunday dinner!”

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