Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Lisa Powell Bailey
Prep Time
30 Mins
Cook Time
28 Mins
Bake Time
22 Mins
Makes 8 to 10 servings

Decadent is the only word to describe this top-rated mac 'n' cheese of John's City Diner in Birmingham. The smoked gouda adds marvelous flavor, but you can substitute regular gouda.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 400°. Bake breadcrumbs in a single layer on a baking sheet 5 to 7 minutes or until golden, stirring once after 2 1/2 minutes.

Step 2

Cook prosciutto, in batches, in a lightly greased large skillet over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until crisp. Drain on paper towels; crumble.

Step 3

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

Step 4

Meanwhile, melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat; add shallot, and sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add wine, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of Dutch oven, and cook 1 minute.

Step 5

Gradually whisk in flour until smooth; cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk and next 4 ingredients; cook, whisking constantly, 12 to 14 minutes or until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Remove and discard bay leaf.

Step 6

Place 4 cups (16 oz.) Cheddar cheese in a large heatproof bowl. Reserve remaining Cheddar cheese for another use. Add Gouda and Parmesan cheeses to bowl.

Step 7

Gradually pour white sauce over cheeses, whisking until cheeses are melted and sauce is smooth.

Step 8

Stir in pasta and prosciutto until blended. Pour into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish; sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Step 9

Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until bubbly. Serve immediately.

Step 10

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Fiorucci Riserva Prosciutto and Cracker Barrel Vermont White Sharp Cheddar.

Step 11

No-Bake Not Yo' Mama's Mac 'n' Cheese: Omit breadcrumbs. Prepare recipe as directed in Steps 2 through Stir pasta, prosciutto, and cheeses into white sauce. Serve immediately.

Step 12


Step 13

Note: Don't use preshredded cheese; it doesn't melt as smoothly. You can shred the cheese and crisp the prosciutto up to one day ahead and chill. You can also toast the breadcrumbs ahead and store them in a zip-top plastic bag.

John's City Diner, Birmingham, Alabama

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