May 31, 2024

Wildly Delicious Mac and Cheese

Recipe: Chris Nuttal-Smith

“This is the creamiest, most luscious mac and cheese. Throw the pan on a grill or barbecue and let the pasta absorb the amazing sauce.” – Chris Nuttal-Smith


At Home

  • 2 qts. water
  • 3 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 8 oz. macaroni
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup coarsely grated Gruyere cheese
  • 2 cups coarsely grated cheddar cheese
  • Scant 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Scant 1/8 tsp grated fresh nutmeg

At Camp

  • Prepared mac-and-cheese pans (thawed)


Yield: Serves 4

At Home: Make Pasta

  1. In medium saucepan over high heat, bring water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and macaroni, and cook for three-quarter of lowest recommended time on package. (If it says 8 to 10 minutes, for example, cook for 6 minutes.)
  2. Drain macaroni, rinse well with cold water and set aside.

At Home: Make Sauce

  1. In medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter, 1 to 2 minutes. Add flour, whisking until mixture smells faintly nutty and has turned from light blond to light golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes.
  2. Remove pan from heat, slowly whisk in milk, then return pan to burner. Increase heat to medium and bring to a simmer, whisking, until sauce is smooth and thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Remove pan from heat and stir in both cheeses, cayenne, nutmeg and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Let sauce cool for 15 minutes.

At Home: Assemble and Pack

  1. Cut two sheets of aluminum foil to cover aluminum pans, then butter one side of each sheet. Butter bottom and sides of aluminum pans.
  2. Transfer cooked macaroni into sauce and stir to combine. (Mixture will look sauce-heavy until it’s reheated.)
  3. Divide mixture between prepared pans. Cover tightly with foil. Pack pans in resealable bag and refrigerate or freeze. Mac and cheese will keep for 1 month, frozen. After thawing, mac and cheese will keep for 3 days, kept cold.

At Camp: Grill Mac and Cheese

  1. Place covered pans on grill over medium heat, rotating occasionally until mac and cheese is hot and bubbly throughout, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Maya Visnyei


Recipes from Cook It Wild by Chris Nuttall-Smith. ©2023 Chris Nuttall-Smith. Photography by Maya Visnyei and illustrations by Claire McCracken. Published by Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved