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Marja's Mac-and-Cheese
© Lucy Schaeffer

Marja's Mac-and-Cheese

  • ACTIVE: 30 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 30 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 8 to 10
  • MAKE-AHEAD
  • STAFF-FAVORITE
  • VEGETARIAN

Jean-Georges Vongerichten is so fond of his wife Marja's ultrarich mac and cheese that it appears on the menu at the Mercer Kitchen, one of his New York restaurants. Marja makes the dish with four cheeses, from creamy Monterey Jack to extra-sharp cheddar. The most unusual touch: the cubes of cream cheese that melt on top.

  1. 3/4 pound elbow macaroni
  2. Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  3. 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  4. 1 cup half-and-half
  5. 1 cup whole milk
  6. 2 large eggs
  7. 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  8. 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  9. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  10. 1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
  11. 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
  12. 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (4 ounces)
  13. 4 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the macaroni for 3 minutes (it will still be very chewy). Drain the macaroni and return it to the pot. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and toss well.
  2. Butter a 10-by-15-inch baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk the heavy cream with the half-and-half, milk, eggs, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir in the cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses and the macaroni. Spread the mac and cheese in the prepared baking dish and scatter the cream cheese cubes on top.
  3. Bake the macaroni for 5 minutes. Using the back of a large spoon, spread the melted cream cheese cubes evenly over the surface. Bake for 40 minutes, until bubbling.
  4. Remove the baking dish from the oven and preheat the broiler. Broil the mac and cheese about 3 inches from the heat source until richly browned, about 2 minutes. Let stand for at least 10 and up to 20 minutes before serving.
Make Ahead The assembled mac and cheese can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking, or add 15 minutes to the baking time.