Jim Franco
Total Time
50 Mins
Makes 6 servings

Why "ultimate" mac n' cheese? Because the sauce in this recipe is creamy, not grainy; it's flavored with shallots, gruyère, and white wine, like fondue; and it's topped with crunchy sourdough bread crumbs.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 400°. Cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot of boiling, well-salted water until tender to the bite, 7 to 12 minutes. Drain, but do not rinse.

Step 2

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tbsp. butter. Add shallots and cook until light golden, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle shallot-butter mixture with flour; cook, stirring often, 1 minute. Add wine and stir, picking up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add cream and stir well. Sprinkle in cheeses, one large handful at a time, stirring until each handful is mostly melted before adding the next. Stir in 2 tbsp. chives, mustard, 1/4 tsp. salt, cayenne, and nutmeg. Stir cooked pasta into cheese mixture, then pour all into a 2-qt. baking dish.

Step 3

In a food processor, pulse bread with remaining 1 1/2 tbsp. butter, 1 tsp. chives, and 1/4 tsp. salt until coarse bread crumbs form. Sprinkle bread crumbs over pasta and cheese and bake until top is browned and cheese is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 4

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Chef's Notes

You can substitute romano, goat gouda, or more gruyère for the aged gouda.

Ratings & Reviews

Soooooo disappointing

June 21, 2017
My daughter was coming home from the air force for a visit and I couldn't wait to make this for her as her favorite dish is Mac & Cheese.  However, this was so disappointing.  None of the flavors melded well together and the result was not at all creamy.  I will now have to wait another year before I can try to make her the best ever Mac & Cheese. :(

Could be better

September 11, 2017
Too much shallot and wine, not enough cheddar cheese flavor.  The cheese is to mild and needs some cheddar and or smokiness.  Still tasting shallots 2 hours later. 

Waterfallaurie's Review

October 18, 2012
Added crab sauteed in tabasco. Served with broccoli, tasted delicious!

SarahLuvsPups's Review

July 12, 2012
Ok - I rather like the classic mac n cheese - with browned butter. I LOVE fondu - but I guess not on my mac n cheese. But if you like fondu - this is your recipe. It's good. Kids liked it too.

JeninND's Review

November 30, 2008
Unbelieveable! This is my new favorite home-made mac & cheese recipe, and I've tried many. The kids thought the wine flavor was a bit too strong, so next time I will try 1/2 cup wine and 3/4 cup chicken broth and see if that helps. Otherwise, I wouldn't change a THING!

tnorris's Review

January 17, 2009
My husband loved this dish as is! I would have preferred it with about half the wine called for as suggested by others. It was a little rich with just the sauce and noodles, so you will definitely want to serve it with a light green vegetable or salad. Next time I might try adding chicken and broccoli to make it more like a casserole.

KateHardy's Review

December 25, 2008
I also used only about half the wine, as I was feeding adults and children and was nervous about the strong "bite" that dry white wine can sometimes leave; Especially considering the strong cheeses. I also used Italian bread crumbs instead of food processing my own bread crumbs. The recipe turned out phenomenal! My kids told me they like it much better than the "box" mac n cheese that we buy at the store. I recommend this recipe to everyone! Very good!

JenDerek's Review

February 16, 2009
Delicious - we've made this recipe several times and always enjoyed it.

melissah46's Review

June 03, 2010
Thought this recipe had a ton of potential. The combination of cheeses was decadent and wonderful. I agree with several others - the wine was too strong so I will substitute chicken broth for part of the wine. Loved the crunch of the sourdough bread crumbs on top. Will definitely make this again!

Gabbym28's Review

September 26, 2010
I have made this twice now and love it. I don't think that the wine is overpowering at all. I think it adds a little something different. I wouldn't change anything as it is perfect! It is something I will make time and time again. I have also shared the recipes with others who have sampled mine. Definitely recommend.