That Jean-Georges Family Mac and Cheese You Were Reading About? Here’s the Recipe

Enough of you have asked about the incredible macaroni and cheese (five kinds of the latter) our editor in chief was talking about on Tuesday that we figured we should score you the recipe. It’s from Home Cooking with Jean-Georges: My Favorite Simple Recipes, which chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten published just last fall. Turns out it’s actually a dish created by his wife, Marja, who has her own TV show and cookbook out called The Kimchi Chronicles (she’s also Korean). Writes Vongerichten in the headnote: “This is one of the most requested dishes in my home, especially when we have children over.

Enough of you have asked about the incredible macaroni and cheese (five kinds of the latter) our editor in chief was talking about on Tuesday that we figured we should score you the recipe. It’s from Home Cooking with Jean-Georges: My Favorite Simple Recipes, which chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten published just last fall.

Turns out it’s actually a dish created by his wife, Marja, who has her own TV show and cookbook out called The Kimchi Chronicles (she’s also Korean). Writes Vongerichten in the headnote: “This is one of the most requested dishes in my home, especially when we have children over. instead of making a béchamel sauce, Marja simply blends her ingredients and bakes them into a rich custard that suspends the pasta. her blend of five cheeses creates layers of flavors in this homey casserole. Marja’s always happy to bake it for a crowd, and everyone’s always happy to eat it.”

Marja’s Mac ’n’ Cheese
Serves 12
From Home Cooking with Jean-Georges: My Favorite Simple Recipes (Clarkson Potter, 2011)

Unsalted butter
1½ cups heavy cream
1½ cups half-and-half
2/3 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1½ cups)
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1½ cups)
6 ounces mild yellow cheddar cheese, shredded (1½ cups)
6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1½ cups)
1 pound dried elbow macaroni
4 ounces cream cheese, chilled, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking dish.

Whisk together the cream, half-and-half, milk, eggs, yolks, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and whisk again. Combine the shredded cheeses in another large bowl and mix well.

Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water until almost al dente, about 3 minutes. The pasta should still be firm. Drain well.

Spoon a third of the macaroni into the buttered dish, and top with a third of the cheese mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat layering and seasoning twice. Dot the surface with the cream cheese, then carefully pour the cream mixture into the dish.

Bake for 5 minutes, then use a large offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the melted cream cheese evenly over the top. Continue to bake until just set, about 40 minutes. Serve warm.

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Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.