Andouille Mac & Cheese

At The Heron, in Narrowsburg, New York, chef Paul Nanni grinds and smokes his own andouille sausage for supergenerous portions of Cajun-inspired macaroni and cheese. Slideshow:  More Cajun and Creole Recipes 

Andouille Mac & Cheese
Photo: © Cedric Angeles
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins


  • 1 ½ cups whole milk

  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 clove garlic (minced)

  • ½ teaspoon thyme (finely chopped)

  • 1 pinch of cayenne

  • 1 pinch of nutmeg (freshly grated)

  • 1 pinch of white pepper

  • 1 ½ cups white cheddar (6 ounces shredded mild)

  • 1 ½ cups sharp cheddar (6 ounces shredded)

  • Kosher salt

  • Black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 cup panko

  • 6 ounces andouille sausage (diced)

  • ¾ cup red bell pepper (finely diced)

  • ½ cup onion (finely diced)

  • ¼ cup scallions (plus more for garnish thinly sliced)

  • ¼ cup cilantro (plus leaves for garnish finely chopped)

  • ¼ cup parsley (finely chopped)

  • 1 pound pasta shells (medium)

  • Hot sauce

  • Thinly sliced hot red chiles or jalapeños (for garnish)


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°. In a small saucepan, bring the milk and heavy cream to a simmer. Keep warm over very low heat.

  2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook over moderate heat until bubbling, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, cayenne, nutmeg and white pepper and whisk until the roux is lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and cream until the sauce is smooth and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, whisking, until no floury taste remains, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the mild cheddar and 1/2 cup of the sharp cheddar. Season the cheese sauce with salt and black pepper.

  3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the panko and toast over moderately high heat, stirring, until lightly browned, 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Wipe out the skillet.

  4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet. Add the andouille, bell pepper and onion and cook over moderate heat until the vegetables are lightly browned, 5 minutes. Stir in the 1/4 cup of sliced scallions and the chopped cilantro and parsley.

  5. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain well, then return the pasta to the pot. Stir in the cheese sauce and the andouille mixture. Season with hot sauce and salt and black pepper.

  6. Spoon the pasta into four 12-ounce gratin dishes set on a baking sheet. Top with the remaining 1 cup of sharp cheddar and the toasted panko. Bake until piping hot, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Garnish with scallions, cilantro and red chiles and serve with hot sauce.

Suggested Pairing

Red-berry-rich, medium-bodied Italian red.

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