‘Barefoot Contessa’ Ina Garten’s Elegant Truffled Mac and Cheese Is No Ordinary Dinner

Count on Food Network’s Ina Garten – also known as The Barefoot Contessa – to make dinner not only delicious, but deliciously simple.

Here, her take on macaroni and cheese gets an elegantly massive upgrade for a classy, comforting dinner you won’t soon forget.

Ina Garten dines with Willie Geist on October 10, 2018
‘Barefoot Contessa’ Ina Garten | Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Garten is all about keeping meals simple

For the popular Food Network star, food preparation needs to be simple so that enjoyment of food and company is No.1. As the chef told the Independent Record, one shouldn’t be spending an eternity in the kitchen, or a fortune on a meal.

“If you spend an entire day making dinner for your husband, he can’t possibly appreciate it enough,” she said. “And it’s not his fault; it’s yours. It’s really about being elegant and earthy. I think the elegance comes from the simplicity, and the earthiness is just very simple ingredients.

“My style of food is to take really good ingredients and cook just to enhance them.”

You’ll need these ingredients for Ina Garten’s Truffled Mac and Cheese

With five-star ratings on the Food Network’s website, Garten’s truffled mac and cheese is as fans are calling it, “decadent” and “creamy.”

In her latest cookbook Modern Comfort Food, the Hamptons resident says of the dish, “Some comfort foods like mac & cheese never go out of style. Kids love it and so do adults when it’s dressed up for company. This dish is particularly good for entertaining because you can assemble it a day in advance and bake it before dinner. Wild mushrooms, truffle butter, and cream sherry make this mac & cheese really special.”

The perfect cocktail to enjoy with your Truffled Mac and Cheese dinner

RELATED: ‘Barefoot Contessa’ Ina Garten Praises 3 Cookbooks For Teaching Her to Cook


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Good olive oil
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced 1/2-inch
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced 1/2-inch
  • 1/4 cup cream sherry, such as Harveys Bristol Cream
  • Kosher salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound cavatappi pasta
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 3 ounces white truffle butter, such as Urbani
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups Gruyère cheese, grated (10 ounces)
  • 3 cups extra-sharp white Cheddar, grated (8 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups diced white bread, crusts removed
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

How to make ‘The Barefoot Contessa’s Truffled Mac and Cheese

Ina Garten smiles as she stirs food with a wooden spoon on the Today show
Ina Garten | Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images

Your oven will need to be preheated to 375 degrees.

Next, sautée your mushrooms in the butter and oil over medium heat until they are tender. Mix in the sherry and cook for another couple of minutes. Keep the mushrooms off the heat and to the side.

Cook the pasta and drain.

Scald the whole milk in a medium saucepan. In another larger saucepan, melt the truffle butter and whisk in the flour. Note: Garten says to use only white truffle butter. “Don’t substitute black truffle butter; the flavor is very different.”

Keep whisking without interruption for 2 minutes on low heat. Carefully and slowly add in the scalded milk using a wooden spoon until the mixture is thick.

Remove the milk mixture from the heat and add in the cheeses, 2 tablespoons of salt, 2 of pepper, and the nutmeg.

Using a large bowl, gently mix the pasta, cream sauce, 2/3 of the mushrooms and place it into a 10 x 13 x 2-inch oven-safe baking dish.

Run the bread, garlic, and parsley in a food processor into a fine crumb mixture. Sprinkle the crumbs over the pasta and place the last of the mushrooms on the top of the pasta.

Bake for 40 minutes until it’s bubbly and the crumbs are golden in color. Serve it hot and enjoy.