One of the best mac and cheeses I have ever had is at the Limestone Grill in Boerne, Texas. Fantastic and more of a grown-up recipe! I don't think they serve it anymore though.
I have tried several recipes from top TV chefs and personalities and have been disappointed. They were all dry. So my husband, Rick, and I put our heads together and came up with this recipe that is both grown-up (no Velveeta or Cheese Whiz!) and creamy, not dry. I think you will love it! However, you may not want to cook it for the kiddos. Those cheeses can get pricey! And, hey, if they like the box brand, who are we to argue!
Special Occasion Mac and Cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray sides and bottom of casserole dish.
Grate a combination of cheeses into a large bowl before you begin. You can substitute what cheeses you use but you have to use some that melt well or your dish will curdle and not be smooth and creamy. Don’t use cheddars, they will curdle!! I use these ones or some similar:
1 ½ cups grated Asiago
1 ½ cups grated Emmentaler swiss cheese (this is a brand at HEB; melts well)
1 cup grated Fontina
½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano. (Don’t use the plain parmesan that is already grated. This will curdle sometimes.)
1 round package (in the wooden container) Camembert cheese, cut into small pieces
Cook 1 pound of elbow macaroni. Don’t overcook, cook al dente. You can have this cooking as you are getting the pancetta and garlic ready.
Stack enough thinly sliced pieces of pancetta to equal about an inch of meat. Dice into small pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in small sauté pan over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook until brown and crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add 2 cloves chopped garlic to pan and cook until lightly browned. Remove and drain.
Add the cooked pasta to the large bowl with your grated cheeses. Add the pancetta and the garlic. Add 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme or crumbled dried thyme and ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or mild red chili pepper . Add salt and pepper to taste.