Back to Basics: How to Make Mac & Cheese

January 6th 2021

Everyone loves mac & cheese, right? This week on Back To Basics, Whitney shows us how to make this comforting classic. 

This recipe swaps out traditional yellow cheeses for sharp white Cheddar and white American cheeses, but feel free to swap these out for the melting cheese of your choice. Or use up what you have leftover in your refrigerator! Cheeses like fontina, gruyere, gouda, muenster, Parmesan, Havarti, and Monterey Jack all work well.

Give it a try:


  • 1 pound medium pasta shells
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ tsp freshly ground white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces sharp white Cheddar, shredded
  • 8 ounces white American cheese, shredded if from a block, otherwise diced
  • 2 tbsp white wine, optional
  • Kosher salt


        1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. Set aside.
        2. Heat the olive oil in a high-sided 10-inch sauté pan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk. Reduce to low heat, bring to a simmer, and cook until it becomes a thin gravy, about 5 minutes. Add the white pepper and ground mustard and stir to combine. Add the cream cheese and stir until fully incorporated and creamy. Stir in the Cheddar, American cheese, and wine, if using, and cook until fully incorporated. Taste and add salt as needed.
        3. Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to thoroughly combine. Taste again and salt as needed before serving.

              How to Make Mac & Cheese

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