Mac and Cheese, Tainted


By Edward Schneider

There were mousseron mushrooms where I was shopping the other day, and in very good condition, too. The plan had been to make macaroni and cheese for a few friends (and, unbeknownst to them, to clear our fridge of odd scraps of cheese that had been hanging around a little too long), and these pretty, tiny, flavorful mushrooms furthered that plan very neatly.

You probably don’t need me to tell you how to make macaroni and cheese. For this one, though, I’ll tell you that I cooked the whole mousserons right in the béchamel sauce base, along with some chopped speck (smoked dry-cured ham, Italian in this case), then proceeded as usual.Two lessons here: mushrooms are a terrific addition to macaroni and cheese; and simmering them in the sauce base lends flavor to the whole dish – most people’s instinct is to sauté them first, but this is entirely unnecessary and perhaps even counterproductive.

I know there are mac ’n’ cheese purists who will countenance no additions to the classic, but do you ideologically lax cooks out there have any other suggestions for ingredients that complement the basics?

Posted in Recipes


  1. maglenkaiser said...

    Last night I made homemade mac n’ cheese with comté cheese and tuna. Do people have favorite cheeses they like to use?

  2. fodden said...

    Lobster. Put lobster — or crab — in your M & C. Why be a purist when this sort of adulteration is possible?

  3. Anonymous said...

    with cheddar-based mac, roast tomatoes and bacon; with gruyere-based mac, spinach (cooked, squeezed dry and finely chopped)

  4. hcoppola said...

    Bacon, speck, or other cured pork product is a must. Loading it up with fresh thyme is one of our favorite tricks.

  5. Anonymous said...

    I like Pam Anderson’s Mac & Cheese with Ground Beef & Salsa.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *