Laura Werlin’s Mac & Two Cheeses with Cream & Mushrooms

Pair with a full bodied Merlot or a lower alcohol Zinfandel

Laura Werlin’s Mac & Two Cheeses with Cream & Mushrooms

Servings: 6


  • 1 Tbsp/Tsp / Kosher Salt, divided
  • 8 oz / Cavatelli or penne pasta about 2 cups
  • 5 Tbsp / salted butter
  • 1 large / clove garlic , peeled and minced
  • 1 lb / mixed wild mushrooms (or use cremini mushrooms) stemmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp / all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups / whole or reduced fat milk
  • 1/2 cup / heavy cream
  • 12 oz / good sharp cheddar, coarsely grated
  • 8 oz / triple-crème brie cheese cold, rind removed, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces Costco has an excellent version of this cheese
  • 1/4 tsp / nutmeg


  1. Fill a 4 to 5-quart pot about three-fourths full with water and add 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil and add the pasta. Cook, stirring once or twice, according to package until al dente about 8 to 10 minutes, and drain. Set pasta aside and reserve the pot.
  2. In a medium skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until soft and creamy in texture, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the thyme and a generous amount of salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.
  3. Using the same pot you used to make the pasta, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the flour and stir constantly until a paste forms, 30 to 45 seconds. Continue stirring for 1 to 2 minutes more, until the mixture starts to darken slightly and smell a bit nutty. Slowly whisk in the milk, cream, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and cook until the mixture starts to thicken and is just beginning to bubble around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  4. Add the cheeses and nutmeg, and stir until the cheeses have melted and the sauce is smooth. It should be similar in texture to cake batter. If it’s soupy, continue cooking until it thickens.
  5. Add the pasta and mushrooms and stir until the mushrooms are warmed through and the mixture is combined.
  6. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with more black pepper. Serve right away.