Recipe: Now THIS is mac 'n' cheese

It used to cost me in the neighborhood of $500 to get, arguably, the world's best mac 'n' cheese. That's the rough cost of an airline ticket to Seattle and a take-out casserole from Beecher's Handmade Cheese store at the Pike Place Market. Beecher's recently added an East Coast location in lower Manhattan. The new 8,000-square-foot shop/factory/restaurant opened in the Flatiron District.

Across the street from Beecher's is the High Line Park, an elevated linear walkway, built on a section of the former elevated freight railroad spur called the West Side Line. It has been redesigned and planted as an aerial greenway. About a mile-and-a-half long, the city's newest park is a marvel of gardens, sculptures, lawns, art installations and surprise eateries.

Next trip to the Apple, get the city's best two-fer -- excellent cheese and the hottest tourist site in Manhattan: Beecher's Handmade Cheese, 900 Broadway, at 20th Street (1-212-466-3340 or

If you must, substitute an aged cheddar cheese for Beecher's. It won't be quite the same, but still pretty, pretty good.


(Tested by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

12 ounces good-quality penne pasta

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup flour

3 cups whole milk

14 ounces Beecher's Flagship Cheese, grated

2 ounces Monterey Jack, grated

1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, depending on the cheese

1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Cook penne for 2 minutes less than recommended on the package. Rinse in cold water; set aside. Pasta should still have a slight crunch.

Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat; whisk in flour. Continue whisking and cooking for 2 minutes. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly until sauce has thickened (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat.

Add cheeses (reserve 2 ounces to top final dish), salt to taste, half the chile powder and all of the garlic powder. Stir until cheese has melted and all ingredients are well incorporated, about 3 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix together cooked pasta and sauce gently but thoroughly. Pour pasta into prepared baking dish; sprinkle with remaining cheese and remaining chile powder.

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 10.

-- Beecher's Handmade Cheese

Marlene Parrish can be reached at marleneparrish(at)

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