Jay's Mac & Cheese (Pasta Bechamel)

I had a problem. The boxed Macaroni and Cheese sets contain unhealthy chemicals, and my attempts to make homemade macaroni and cheese were failing because the cheese would get lumpy. My friend Jay Engelmayer, Senior Culinary Lecturer for the Jerusalem Culinary Institute, came to my rescue with this wonderful Pasta Bechamel recipe.

Prep Time: 30 m
cook time
Cook Time: 25 m
Yield: 8-12 servings
Course: Dairy Entree
Occasion: Shavuot, Family Dairy Meal
Skill: Advanced
  • 2 pounds (1 kilo) pasta - baby shells or penne are best, medium shells or ridged pasta is also okay
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups cream (15-30%)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground all-spice (optional)
  • 1 cup finely grated Cheddar
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 325° F (160° C).
  3. In a saute pan, melt butter. Lightly sweat the onions and whisk in the flour. Cook to a blonde roux.
  4. Add cream. Cook until it reaches a simmer, whisking constantly.
  5. Add milk. Bring to a light steam (just under simmering).
  6. Add spices. Give it a few more whisks and turn off the flame.
  7. Strain the sauce to get rid of the onion. Then mix the sauce with the pasta.
  8. Place mixture in a 12 x 2 1/2 inch pan, or any pan into which it will fit without making it too thick.
  9. Sprinkle Cheddar cheese on top.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes.