Golden Macaroni and Cheese
Eddie’s take on Macaroni and Cheese is a heavenly dish with a bechamel sauce and extravagant chunks of butter-poached lobster and garlic shrimp. But with three always hungry kiddos and limited coherent waking hours, we needed a streamlined version that is almost as tasty but just as luxe and fun to eat. Our Golden Macaroni and Cheese works quickly for a weekday lunch and beautifully for a holiday table.
Yes, that’s actually gold leaf. Last week Eddie and I were chatting about a simplified Macaroni and Cheese recipe, but that could still be a showstopper for Sunday dinner or the holidays.
Standing the kitchen, a packet of gold leaf was tucked away in the corner. I used the gold leaf for a Halloween cocktail recipe – Vampire’s Kiss Cocktail and had quite a few sheets left over.
Then my devious little mind tossed the idea to Eddie who looked unsure as to what exactly I had said. He stared into the pot he was stirring, in the way he usually does when contemplating flavors.
“As a garnish?” he asked.
“Works for me,” I replied.
And indeed it does. The top is crisp and crunchy and it’s a thrill to break through to get to the cheesy delight underneath.
The macaroni is the right kind of tender, still firm enough to hold the cheese sauce in every nook and cranny. And the cheese is delicately seasoned and silky smooth.
The gold leaf is sprinkled generously on the top and doesn’t affect the flavor of the dish in the least.
Suggestions and Alternatives
- If you don’t have a skillet, a standard nine-inch square pan will do.
- If you can’t get Japanese panko readily, you can use seasoned Italian breadcrumbs or fine chop crusty bread instead.
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Golden Macaroni and Cheese
Ingredients for Golden Mac and Cheese
- 2 cups Elbow Macaroni
- 3 cups Whole milk
- 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 3 tbs. Japanese Panko
- 1/4 sheets Gold Leaf
- 8 tbs. AP flour
- 8 tbs. Whole butter
- 2 cups Cheddar cheese
- 1 cup Gouda cheese
- 5 slices American cheese
- 1/2 tbs. Nutmeg
Instructions for Cheese Sauce:
- Using a large heavy bottom pot on medium heat add whole butter and flour.
- Stir constantly until both are incorporated about 2 minutes.
- Next add milk heavy cream and nutmeg.
- Whisk all until completely incorporated and thickens, about 4 minutes. Shut off heat.
- Fold in Cheddar, Gouda, American cheese.
- Whisk until smooth.
Instructions for Golden Mac and Cheese
- In a medium-size pot, add four cups water and Kosher salt. Bring to a boil.
- Add elbow macaroni and cook for eight minutes. Strain and allow to cool for five minutes.
- Fold in cheese sauce until completely incorporated.
- Using a clean, seasoned cast iron skillet, add macaroni.
- In a small microwavable bowl add one tbs. butter and Japanese panko and microwave for 20 seconds. Allow to cool.
- Once panko has cooled, spread Panko on top of macaroni and broil it until golden brown, about one minute depending on your broiler setting.
- Allow to cool for five minutes and garnish generously with gold leaf.