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Mac 4 Cheese (with Leeks)
6 to 8 servings
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Ingredients (15)

  • Coarse salt
  • 2 cups uncooked whole-wheat elbow macaroni
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 thinly sliced large leeks, white and light green parts only
  • 3 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
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Nutritional Information
  • Calories558
  • Fat33.39g
  • Saturated fat14.28g
  • Trans fat0.33g
  • Carbs41.92g
  • Fiber2.57g
  • Sugar9.26g
  • Protein23.09g
  • Cholesterol65.15mg
  • Sodium416.8mg
  • Nutritional Analysis per serving (6 servings) Powered by

This is a lovely reinvention of the macaroni and cheese that my mom made when I was growing up. With leeks, too.


  1. 1Heat oven to 375°F and lightly grease a shallow 2-quart baking dish.
  2. 2Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Add 2 teaspoons salt. When the water returns to a boil, stir in the pasta and cook until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  3. 3Meanwhile, in a medium sauté pan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the leeks and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until the leeks are lightly browned. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. 4Warm the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and whisk in the flour. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, whisking every 30 seconds, until the flour is a darker shade of brown.
  5. 5Raise the heat to medium, add the milk, and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Simmer for 10 minutes, whisking constantly, until thickened.
  6. 6Reduce the heat to low, add the vinegar, paprika, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup of the cheddar, 1/2 cup of the jack, the mozzarella, and Parmigiano cheese to the white sauce and stir until smooth. Season with black pepper to taste.
  7. 7Add the leeks and elbows to the white sauce, gently stir well, and pour into the baking dish.
  8. 8Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheddar and 1/2 cup jack over the top and garnish with the chopped rosemary.
  9. 9Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until lightly browned and crisp on top. Serve hot.

Beverage pairing: Marco Porello Roero Arneis Camestrì, Italy. All the rich, savory and sweet flavors here suggest a wine that will contrast and leaven the experience; something light, acidic and maybe even a little tart. There are several such wines made in the north of Italy, but Arneis is a good choice. It has the necessary acidity and sharpness to cut through all the cheese, while adding some herbal and floral notes of its own. This particular wine has just enough richness to hang with the macaroni.

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