Cheddary Macaroni & Cheese

This recipe of Jennifer Low’s took comfort food to a new level. Wrote a reader, “I have two daughters and, every year for their birthdays, I make this delicious recipe. With the addition of the caramelized onions and sherry, it gives it a grown-up flavour that adults can’t resist!”

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • Vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups shredded sharp (extra-old) cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp good-quality sherry
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Optional breadcrumb topping
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp melted butter

Note: For a topping, you can also use chopped cooked bacon, caramelized onions or crumbled cheese.

Directions Yield:  Serves 6
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Cook macaroni in large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain; toss with drizzle of oil.
  3. In medium saucepan, simmer cream, white wine, garlic and bay leaf until mixture is reduced to 1 cup, about 15 minutes. Discard garlic and bay leaf; set aside.
  4. In large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter and cook onion for about 10 minutes or until it begins to turn golden. Stir in flour until blended; cook 1 minute, stirring. Gradually whisk in cream mixture, milk, cheeses, sherry, mustard, salt and peppers until smooth; bring to a boil, whisking frequently until thickened, about 3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  5. Stir in cooked macaroni. To bake, pour into buttered 8″ square baking dish. Top with breadcrumb topping, if using, or any additional toppings desired. (Macaroni can be prepared ahead, covered and refrigerated for up to one day. Add 10 minutes to baking time.) Bake 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and golden.
Recipe by:
Jennifer Low
Michael Kohn
House & Home February 2003