Greg Dupree
Active Time
25 Mins
Total Time
25 Mins
Serves 8

An instant classic at chef Preeti Mistry’s latest Oakland restaurant, Navi Kitchen, this tikka masala mac & cheese is the embodiment of the chef’s style: Cali-cool mashed up with traditional Indian flavors. To really capture the chef’s super fresh results, toast and grind whole spices with a mortar and pestle or in a coffee grinder.

How to Make It

Step 1

Place cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves, and fenugreek in a small skillet over medium. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Step 2

Transfer toasted spices to a clean coffee grinder, and pulse until finely ground (or use a mortar and pestle). Stir in the chile powder; set aside.

Step 3

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium. Add ginger and garlic; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Step 4

Add reserved spice mixture, tomato paste, cream, and water to saucepan, and cook, whisking constantly, until tomato paste dissolves. Simmer until bubbles form around the edge, about 5 minutes. Whisk in sour cream, Cheddar, and 4 ounces of the Gouda. Cook, stirring often, until cheeses melt and sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the salt. Reduce heat to low, and keep warm.

Step 5

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and season with remaining 1/4 cup salt. Add macaroni; cook according to package directions. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add the cheese sauce, and stir well to combine. Transfer mixture to a broiler-safe baking dish.

Step 6

Preheat broiler. Top pasta mixture with remaining 2 ounces Gouda; broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve immediately.

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