Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese

cauliflower gratinJust about everybody loves macaroni and cheese. Kids and adults. Vegetarians and meat lovers. Even gluten free folks and carb-loaders alike crave the instant comfort of the satisfying combination of cheese and pasta.

Though most people may enjoy the indulgence of a ooey-goey macaroni and cheese, not everyone seeks to become a modern day expert on the subject of marrying dairy and pasta. Few go out of their way to become fluent in the way of whey; cow, goat, and sheeps’ milk, and dried pasta.

Thanks to the journalistic skills and writing talent of Garrett McCord ( and Stephanie Stiavetti (, the work of understanding the art and mechanics of making truly great macaroni and cheese dishes is served up for you to enjoy in their newest cookbook: Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese.

Garrett and Stephanie are great food writers who elevate macaroni and cheese to a whole new level. They lavish their readers with entertaining stories and important insights on cheese and pasta. Melt, The Art of Macaroni and Cheese is a cookbook filled with well-crafted recipes that are a pleasure to cook with year-round.

Beautifully photographed and elegantly styled by the epically talented duo of Matt Armendariz, photographer, and food-stylist Adam Pearson, this book is as educational as it is visually stunning. Melt is a perfect holiday gift for the difficult to buy-for food lover: the book is filled with unexpected gems of information (like a comprehensive guide of artisanal cheeses and a primer on the fundamentals of pairing specialty cheeses with pasta), witty headnotes, and fascinating research. The book oozes with inspiring food photos and over 75 original recipes.

While some single-genre cookbooks might veer too far into the lane of kitch, Melt, The Art of Macaroni and Cheese navigates an enjoyable path for the home cook who seeks to create satisfying gourmet comfort food.

Organized in stylized chapters, Melt is an incredibly versatile cookbook that gives readers different ways to approach cheese and pasta: creamy stovetop macs, hearty casseroles, refreshing salads, and surprising sweets.

Curious to see how the sweetness of roasted cauliflower and cheese would work together, I selected the Cauliflower and gruyere macaroni gratin recipe from Melt’s “hearty ad satisfying” section. The recipe was well-written and easy to follow, making me feel as if I had my friends Stephanie and Garrett cooking along side me in the kitchen. The result, a satisfying dish that shows off the earthy flavors of the Gruyere with the sweetness of roasted cauliflower. Comforting and sexy, this is a perfect gratin for a busy, throw-it-in-the-oven lifestyle or as a gift for the complicated lives of friends or neighbors during the holiday season.

Cauliflower and Gruyere Macaroni Gratin

Recipe excerpted from Melt, The Art of Macaroni and Cheese by Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord, Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company

1 head of cauliflower, chopped into tiny florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces elbow macaroni
8 ounces Gruyere, shredded
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces Parmesan, finely grated

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Toss the cauliflower florets with the olive oil and give them a light dusting of salt and pepper. Roast them for 20 to 25 minutes in a 9-by-9-inch pan or a similar sized casserole dish. The florets should be slightly browned and easily pierced with a fork.
  2. While the cauliflower is roasting, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain through a colander and set aside.
  3. Pour the pasta into the roasting pan with the cauliflower. Add the Gruyere, cream, mustard, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Stir until ingredients are well mixed. Use a spoon to push the pasta beneath the surface of the cream and heavily sprinkle the top with Parmesan. Bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes so the cream sets before serving.

To celebrate the nearing release of Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, Stephanie and Garrett are giving away a $500 set of Le Creuset cookware and a $100 gift certificate for Murray’s, the premier online retailer for artisan cheese. One lucky winner will receive the ultimate set for creating all the macaroni and cheese dishes in the book.  To find out more, go here.


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Food Woolf Written by:

Brooke Burton is an Los Angeles-based restaurant professional and hospitality expert. She is a freelance food writer, speaker, and co-author of The Food Blog Code of Ethics.


  1. November 27

    Beautiful pictures and post. Thank you so very much, Brooke!

  2. Morgan
    January 12

    This recipe looks delicious. In the instructions it says to add mustard with the nutmeg, but that isn’t listed in the ingredients. Do you mind sharing what kind and how much? Thanks.

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