Mac Attack! Leeks and Sharp Cheddar Mac and Cheese

After putting together a super tasty Tex-Mex mac and cheese, I wanted to make something a little more traditional, but still with a twist. I found a recipe for sharp cheddar mac and cheese that's infused with sauteed leeks. Leeks are a cousin to the onion family; however, they're much more subtle, sweet, and earthy. The sharp cheddar cheese complements the complexity of the leeks.

The leftovers of this mac and cheese are even better because the flavors have more time to mingle and develop. The next time I make this dish, I plan on crumbling bacon over the top — it would take this recipe to a whole new heavenly level. If you're ready for the next mac attack, keep reading!

Sharp Cheddar Mac and Cheese With Sauteed Leeks

Sharp Cheddar Mac and Cheese With Sauteed Leeks


  1. 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  2. 5 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 5 large)
  3. 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  4. 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  5. 1 pound extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 4 cups packed)
  6. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. 1 pound penne pasta


  1. Lightly butter 15x10x2-inch baking dish or smaller individual ceramic bowls. Melt 1/4 cup butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks; stir to coat. Cover saucepan and cook until leeks are tender, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes (do not brown).
  2. Uncover saucepan; add flour. Stir 2 minutes. Add milk; bring to simmer, stirring often. Add cheese and mustard.
  3. Stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat. Season cheese sauce to taste with salt.
  4. Whisk eggs in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 1 cup cheese sauce. Stir egg mixture into cheese sauce in saucepan.
  5. Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Return to pot.
  6. Stir cheese sauce into pasta in pot. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
  7. Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake pasta until cheese sauce is bubbling around edges and some ends of pasta are golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of your container. Let stand 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Serves 6-8.

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