Butter, Milk, Half & Half, Heavy Cream, Eggs and 5 Kinds of Cheese (aka Why This Mac & Cheese is So Good)

Not only does this recipe call for butter, milk, half-and-half, and heavy cream, it of course deploys plenty of cheese—three types of cheddar plus Monterey Jack. But the crowning glory is, get this, cream cheese. After throwing everything else together—oops I mean assembling the layers—you dot the top with little blobs of cream cheese, which, once baked, become the best part of the dish. The recipe calls for four ounces, but I just might double that next time.

One of the most requested dishes in Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s home is now made in mine.

I’m busy editing our upcoming dairy issue and have milk on the brain all day long, so it’s little wonder this is what my dinner looked like last night.

I’m a loyal Organic Valley customer, and not because they’re an Edible advertiser. My husband, a livestock farmer who hails from upstate New York’s dairy country and has years of morning milkings under his belt, has always insisted that we stock our fridge with Organic Valley. I always knew it was organic, but now know it’s farmer-owned cooperative that does right by its members.

I recently got my hands on Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s new casual cookbook Home Cooking with Jean-Georges: My Favorite Simple Recipes, and while I look forward to making several of the Asian-inflected recipes like mussels in konbu broth and bulgogi-marinated flank steak (his wife’s Korean), these days my main clientele is one three-year-old, so I opened straight to the recipe for mac and cheese.

The headnote says it’s one of the most requested dishes in the Vongerichten home, which is saying something. And true to the book’s premise, it’s super simple—you don’t even make a roux. Just boil some good old elbow macaroni (I subbed in whole wheat), then, if you’re me, break out the Organic Valley. Not only does this recipe call for butter, milk, half-and-half, and heavy cream, it of course deploys plenty of cheese—three types of cheddar plus Monterey Jack. But the crowning glory is, get this, cream cheese. After throwing everything else together—oops I mean assembling the layers—you dot the top with little blobs of cream cheese, which, once baked, become the best part of the dish. The recipe calls for four ounces, but I just might double that next time.

The recipe also calls for two eggs, plus two yolks, and you could get those from Organic Valley too. But my husband has left cows behind, and now tends hens, so I pester him for eggs and save my pennies for dairy runs.

Our daughter— whose name, Bess, may have destined her to be a dairy queen—digs this dish. And given the good ingredients, I don’t mind when she wants it for breakfast. This morning she had a few bites and then stopped to request a drink. Her pairing of choice? Milk.

Want to make it yourself? Get the recipe here.

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Gabrielle Langholtz is the former editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan.