There is a restaurant in Aspen, Colorado that serves some of the best mac & cheese you will ever taste. Seriously. The best. The restaurant is called Jimmy’s and if you’re ever in the area put it on your ‘must visit’ list. Jimmy’s also known for incredibly delicious crab cakes. My husband is from Maryland and even he begrudgingly admitted that Jimmy’s crab cakes may even be better than what you find in restaurants on the Chesapeake. I know I’ll get hate mail from Baltimore for saying that….
My friend Chef David Lawrence is as big of a fan of Jimmy’s as anyone. Without realizing Jimmy’s mac & cheese recipe is actually posted on the restaurant website… Dave (being Dave – a serious culinary rock star) went to a great deal of trouble in the kitchen to try and recreate the dish. He may have even outdone Jimmy because it is outrageously delicious. In the restaurant you can order regular mac or the “Jimmy Mac” which includes bacon, jalapenos and a crispy topping. This recipe is for the Jimmy Mac… but you can always remove the jalapenos to make it more kid-friendly.
Ingredients – Aspen Style Jimmy Mac & Cheese
- 1 pound large elbow macaroni
- 1 quart whole milk
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups Gruyere, grated
- 2 cups extra-sharp aged Cheddar, grated
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 1/2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
- 1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
- Panko Bread Crumbs, for topping
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to package directions. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, being careful not to boil it. Melt the butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Whisk over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to cook out the raw flour taste. While whisking, add the hot milk and bring to a boil, cooking until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, cheddar, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in the jalapeño and bacon and fold in the cooked macaroni. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish. Top with panko bread crumbs. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is evenly browned on the top.
Photo Credit: Chef David Lawrence