What's for Dinner? The Best Mac and Cheese in Town

Sunday, Jun 26, 2011 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (14)

My four-year old twins have strong opinions, particularly about food. They are connoisseurs of Mac and Cheese and have sampled extensively around the restaurants of Baristaville. Hands-down their favorite (and mine) is from Ruthie’s on Chestnut Street. More famous for their awesome thin crust pizza and real slow-smoked Bar-B-Q, their Mac and Cheese is rich and creamy with a slight cheesy bite; ooey and gooey, the ultimate comfort food.

I am very grateful that Culinary Institute of America (CIA) trained chef and owner, Eric Kaplan, was happy to share his Mac and Cheese recipe with us. As good as it is, this is an easy-peasy no-bake version, so there are no excuses to buy packaged Mac and Cheese again.

Here is Eric’s recipe for Ruthie’s Mac and Four Cheese:

Mac and Cheese Ingredients

  • 8oz elbow macaroni
  • 1oz butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 10oz milk
  • 4oz heavy cream
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 oz cream cheese
  • 1 oz Asiago cheese – grated
  • 2 oz Cheddar cheese – grated
  • 1oz Mozzarella
  • 1 tsp salt

For the Breadcrumbs

  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 tbs canola oil
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Add the macaroni to a pan of boiling, salted water and cook for 6 minutes. Drain in a colander and cool the pasta on a sheet pan.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and when it has melted, add the flour. Put on a low heat and stir continuously for about 30 seconds. Gradually add the milk and cream, stirring all the time. Then add the mustard and salt. Bring to a simmer, remembering to stir all the time, so it does not burn.

Add the cheese, turn off the heat, stir. When the cheese has melted in the sauce, add the cooked pasta.

To make the breadcrumbs which give a beautiful contrast of texture and a lovely initial crunch rub all ingredients together and toast in 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes, mix every minute so the edges do not burn. Let them cool on the pan before sprinkling over your Mac and Cheese.

Ruthie’s is open every day apart from Sunday and has live blues music throughout the summer. Catch Rich Reiter there on Friday July 1, 7-9pm, weather permitting.


  1. POSTED BY johnleesandiego  |  June 26, 2011 @ 8:15 am

    I’m pretty sure its against the law to buy packaged Mac and Cheese in Baristaville, if its not it should be.

  2. POSTED BY Liz George  |  June 26, 2011 @ 9:24 am

    Love, love, love the food at Ruthie’s! For the grown-ups, order the special spicy Texas Sausage Pizza.

  3. POSTED BY Nellie  |  June 26, 2011 @ 11:03 am

    You don’t have to be a kid to love macaroni and cheese!

  4. POSTED BY thislittlepiggy  |  June 26, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

    Nellie – you are right – I usually end up eating most of the kids’ mac and cheese.

    I did not mention in the article but the goat cheese romaine salad is pretty amazing.

  5. POSTED BY Sandy  |  June 26, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

    What I cannot find, is a really GOOD hot dog. I resd the labels for the ingrediants. The Non-Kosher are full of junk, such as “fillers”, chicken parts, and about 10 spices and food coloring and “flavoring”.
    The Kosher have better ingredients, BUT their outter casing (I believe that is what it is called) is akin to a rubber hose !!! One could choak to death on the outter casing…
    I have given up on them, and have gone over to Mac & Cheese for a very fast quickee “something”. Are there ANY fast Food Hot Dog chains such as Burger King is to ‘Burgers???

  6. POSTED BY thislittlepiggy  |  June 26, 2011 @ 3:53 pm

    The Shake Shack in NY’s hotdogs are legendary – not exactly convenient though.

  7. POSTED BY jmpr  |  June 26, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

    Big Daddy’s in Little Falls has delicious hot dogs and fun and spicy toppings! https://tinyurl.com/4yxvwch

  8. POSTED BY Sandy  |  June 26, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

    Thanks, guys! Looking thru the listing =– Oh my GAWD !! Max’s Hot Dogs down the shore?!?!?!? Still there !! I 4-got all about them ! Okay, it’s too far to go just for a woofer or 2 – but if one is down there…. Yup, they were voted #1 in N.J. for like 10 years running. Brought warm & fuzzy memories, I gotta go, at least 1 more time.Seems like Big Daddie’s in Little Falls specializes in TOPPINGS. I am not THAT into toppings. I’m good with some ‘Tard & sweet Relish & go to go. Not into the hot & Spicey stuff, more into the woofer !!

  9. POSTED BY Nellie  |  June 26, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

    We make a trip to Max`s every summer. Wouldn`t be summer without it! Great hot dogs!

  10. POSTED BY hollykorus  |  June 26, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

    We are Ruthie’s junkies. Eric makes this warm chocolate dessert thing….that is unreal.

  11. POSTED BY herbeverschmel  |  June 27, 2011 @ 8:00 am

    Hot dogs? What about the greatest of them all Rutts Hut. You also havethe Hot Grill for Texas style and for an Italian dog you have Dicky Dees in Newark. Were just minutes from hot dog heaven around here.

  12. POSTED BY Kristin  |  June 27, 2011 @ 9:46 am

    I’ll bet it’s the asiago cheese that does it in this recipe. Sounds amazing!

  13. POSTED BY Nellie  |  June 27, 2011 @ 9:57 am

    I love asiago cheeese. My grandfather used to buy me big chunks of it when I was a kid so I’ve always called it “Grandpa Cheese.”

    The hot dog that comes to mind is Nathan’s.

  14. POSTED BY Nellie  |  June 27, 2011 @ 10:03 am

    hot dog chain

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