Gail's Best Mac & Cheese Recipe
1 pound Cavatappi pasta
1/2 cup Unsalted butter, 1-stick, plus additional for greasing
1 Shallot, minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup All-purpose flour
4 cup Whole milk, warmed
1 cup Heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons Mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
8 ounces Sharp cheddar cheese, about 2 cups
8 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated about 1 cup
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Breadcrumb topping:
1 1/2 tablespoons Unsalted butter
3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Kosher salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the cavatappi two minutes less than package instructions, drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare the breadcrumb topping. In a large saute pan add the butter and place over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and stir to coat in the butter. Allow to cook until just golden and toasted, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt. Remove to a baking sheet to cool completely. Once cooled, mix with the parmesan cheese.

In a large Dutch oven, add the butter and place over medium-high heat. Allow to melt then add the shallot and garlic and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle over the flour and whisk to form a paste. Allow to cook for a minute or two until lightly golden. While whisking, slowly stream in the milk. Continue whisking until smooth and combined.

Stir in the heavy cream, mustard powder, cayenne, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer until thickened and the cream coats the back of a spoon nicely.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheddar cheese and gruyere. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add in the cooked pasta and stir to coat in the sauce.

Pour into the greased baking dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumb topping. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until bubbling and golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.


Gail's mac n' cheese recipe is so good you may never use your own again. With two kinds of cheese and a breadcrumb crunch, this macaroni and cheese recipe is simple to make but decadent to taste.

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes