Raclette is the perfect melting cheese. Traditionally, it is heated in big rounds by the fire and then scraped off in little avalanches onto your plate. Modern raclette is usually served, like fondue, with some sort of portal stove or grill to keep the raclette softened. Unlike some cheeses that break when heated yielding a greasy mess, raclette just gets more and more velvety. So velvety, you just want to take a fingerful and lick it off (but don’t! Hot!). Instead, do as they do in Savoy, and dip in boiled fingerlings followed by a bright, sour cornichon. Or you can get a little crazy and dip in some sausage or thinly sliced serrano ham. A little cheese, a little wine, a little charcuterie and potatoes makes for a stellar evening. And tighter fitting ski pants.
I haven’t had raclette since that trip, which was almost 7 years ago now, mostly for a silly reason. It never occurred to me how easy it would be to find raclette closer to home. Not until I got mail one day from the Wisconsin Cheese Board asking if I’d be interested in creating a mac & cheese recipe for an upcoming blogging event that they are having. I usually ignore PR requests like this, but hey, who can say no to mac & cheese*? The only requirement for the recipe is that it feature a cheese that is made in Wisconsin… ie, pretty much any cheese. There were over 30 cheeses to choose from, but it was the raclette that caught my eye.
Just think about this for a moment: al dente pasta in a creamy bechamel sauce, topped with paper thin slices of potato and plenty of silky and slightly caramelized raclette and a little gherkin relish sprinkled on for good measure. I promise you, it’s worth loosening your belt for.
For other Mac & Cheese recipes, checkout the 30 ways in 30 days site.
*For this recipe, I am receiving a small stipend, just like I do when I write for magazines. On this blog, I don’t do pay-for-post advertising.
Raclette Mac & Cheese
Makes 4 servings (300 calories per serving)
This recipe may sound a little fancy, but it’s actually quite easy to prepare and most of it can be done in advance, so it makes for a great addition to a dinner party. I cooked mine as individual servings in these Staub mini cocottes, but 1 cup ramekins work fine too, or you can make it in a single larger casserole dish. The mini’s give you more caramelization on the edges.
As an optional variation, try sticking a paper thin slice of Serrano ham under the potatoes. Yum.
3 new potatoes, sliced 1/8″ thick
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper
A pinch of nutmeg
6 ounces uncooked penne (or pasta of your choice), cooked al dente
4 slices Wisconsin Raclette Cheese, cut to 2″x2″x1/4″
1/2 cup cornichon, coarsely chopped
Soak the sliced potatoes in salted water for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Drain the potato slices and plunge them into the boiling water for about 1 minute. Rinse the slices in cold water and lightly dry. Place the potato slices in a bowl and lightly coat with the olive oil. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400Â°F. To make the bÃ©chamel, warm the milk and cream over low heat in a small pan. In another pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and add the flour and stir until smooth and thick, just until it starts to take on a little color. Add the milk & cream gradually, about 1/4 at a time, stirring between each addition until smooth. The mixture should be velvety and slightly thick. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
Place the cooked penne pasta in a mixing bowl and add 3/4 of the bÃ©chamel sauce; stir to coat.
Fill each cocotte or ramekin with 3/4 cup of the bÃ©chamel coated pasta, and press down with the back of the spoon. Top with a heaping spoonful of the remaining bÃ©chamel. Arrange the potato slices on the top of each cocotte, overlapping each slightly.
Bake for 10 minutes or until the potatoes lightly brown on the edges. Place a slice of Raclette on the top of each cocotte and return to the oven for another 10 minutes or until the Raclette is melty and lightly browned. Serve each cocotte, hot, with the cornichon relish on the side.
*300 calories per serving
14 thoughts on “Raclette Mac & Cheese”
This is one of the most tasty sounding mac and cheese dishes I have read. I love the addition of the potato slices too.. wonderful! I have never had Raclette but it seems similar to Vacherin in it’s texture. Looks wonderful and I am now exited to use a box of cheese I received from a farm in Indiana. When I hear of American farms producing European cheeses I get a little scared of doing a review.. but now I’m exited! 🙂 Ciao.. and love your blog, have never been here before but I hope to visit often!
I lived in Switzerland for about 3 and 1/2 years and have to say that one of my best memories was eating raclette in one of the many restaurants in Geneva, particularly those in the old city. It’s been many years but there was nothing that could compare. I’ll be trying your recipe for sure. Thanks for reminding me of a wonderful time of my life.
I live in Austria and there was a looot of Raclette on offer at the Christmas markets but I never had a recipe to give to my friends from back home in NZ who loved it when they visited. Now I find one – thank you!
I recently fell in love with raclette… It’s a gorgeous cheese, and so versatile. I haven’t tried it in macaroni cheese yet though â€“ and oversight that will soon be rectified!
We’ve never been to Chamonix, but we’ve had raclette because we read about it in a mystery novel, Season of Snows and Sins, by Patricia Moyes. We ate it as Inspector Tibbets and his wife did, by a real fire. (In our case, it was by our fireplace.) Now that we are older and less agile, having our raclette in ramekins might be a lot easier.
It may sound unbelievable that about a month ago I’ve made mac & cheese for the first time! This could be a second recipe I will try as I love raclette, and the addition of thinly sliced potatoes make it look divine! Thank you for sharing the recipe.
I read this yesterday and can’t get it out of my head. Thinking I might go the opposite route and just stick my head right in.
Love the site redesign, too. It’s very elegant.
Wow, such a gorgeous and descriptive bunch of photos that tends to make of this fantastic sounding raclette.wonderful complement to me..
Oh dear. Just got back from the gym from relatively strenuous workout and staring at a rather stark fridge…nothing like being hungry while reading food blogs. This looks fabulous, Lara. Obviously — beautiful photos!
That looks soo incredibly good and well, yes I could see how this would be worth loosening the belt for… 🙂
Yum! There is nothing more comforting than homemade macaroni and cheese fresh from the oven! Thanks for sharing and cannot wait to make it!
Love your adaptation. I have a similar memory from the ski towns of Morzine/Avoriaz. But it was the last meal of the trip and so did not interfere with the skiing. I’m inspired to go out and get some raclette right now, have some friends over and experience the joy of winter eating – even in California.
These are fantastic. An upgraded version of Mac and cheese with a different and classy twist.
I had my first taste of Raclette in a small, cozy tucked away restaurant in Zurich. Having cheese for dinner is never a bad thing! Thank you for bringing back such fond memories.
And I just saw your new studio kitchen remodel on D*S – it looks fantastic!!