Lolita's Mac & Cheese

bowl of gemelli pasta and cheese topped with breadcrumbs and chives in a white bowl with a black rim on a dark wood background
Joel Goldberg

Along with their Creamy Kale SaladLolita’s stunning–and stunningly decadent­–Mac & Cheese is a recipe we had to get our hands on. Its hard-to-put-the-fork-down irresistibility is based on a few factors, namely four different cheeses; cream; and caramelized garlic and onion. (The restaurant separately caramelizes the onion; we’ve streamlined the process a bit.)

Although 8 oz. of pasta may seem skimpy at first, that quantity allows the other ingredients to really shine. It will all make sense once you’ve tasted it for yourself. Oh, and please grate the cheese fresh! Store-bought pre-shredded just won’t do this dish justice.

Thanks once again to Chef Craig Capano for this one.

Made this? Let us know how it went in the comments below.

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Yields: 2 servings
Prep Time: 0 hours 15 mins
Total Time: 0 hours 35 mins
2 tbsp.

extra-virgin olive oil


cloves garlic, peeled and smashed


medium onion, thinly sliced

1 1/2 c.

heavy cream

8 oz.

gemelli pasta

1/2 c.

smoked Gouda, shredded

1/2 c.

fontina, shredded

1/2 c.

American cheese

2 tbsp.

freshly grated Parmesan

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp.

 breadcrumbs, toasted in a dry skillet, for garnish

Optional garnish: 2 tsp. sliced chives

  1. Add the smashed garlic to a large skillet with olive oil, and heat over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the garlic begins to lightly brown. The idea is to slowly “roast” the garlic. With a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a small bowl, leaving the oil in the pan.
  2. To the same skillet, add the onions and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they caramelize and take on a deep brown color, about 10 minutes. Transfer the onions to the bowl with the garlic. Blot the garlic-onion mixture with a paper towel if necessary to remove excess oil.
  3. In a medium saucepan, add cream and garlic-onion mixture, and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture is reduced to about half. Turn heat to low to keep cream and garlic-onion mixture warm while you cook pasta.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Add the pasta, and cook until al dente, about 5 minutes.
  5. Using a spider or slotted spoon, remove the pasta and add to the reduced cream mixture. Reserve ¼ cup of pasta water.
  6. Into the skillet, fold in the cheeses, stirring until the cheese is fully incorporated and melted. Add the reserved pasta water in small increments to adjust consistency, if needed.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with sliced chives and breadcrumbs to serve.

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Joel Goldberg

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