Easy Mac & Cheese Fries

After spending 20 years in the kitchen of Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, pastry chef Sherry Yard knows a few tricks of the trade. Currently, Yard is the chef at The Tuck Room in Westwood, California, that supplies moviegoers at the adjacent iPic theater with indulgent, can’t-eat-just-one snacks, such as her Mac & Cheese Fries “Presse” with a creamy tomato dip.

“This recipe is pure chef food. On my night off, this is my go-to indulgence!” says Yard.

The menu is served during the movie in your comfortable lounge chair (complete with a soft and fuzzy throw), along with wine—a trend we have been happy to watch grow in upscale theaters across the country (bonus: no more stale popcorn or bad candy getting stuck in your teeth). After the movie, you can stop by the restaurant for a cocktail and more savory or sweet food.

Yard is hoping to elevate the entire moviegoing experience. You can take her concept home for your own fancy movie night. A word of caution: This is not a recipe for the jazz chef; it can take some time and patience. “My secret tip is to make the recipe up to two weeks in advance. Cut the mixture into sticks and keep them in the freezer. Then, when you’re ready to feast, cut them into smaller ‘fries’ and serve for a delicious party appetizer,” Yard says.


MAC & CHEESE FRIES “PRESSE”
Yields 2 per each quarter-sheet tray

Ingredients:

40 ounces macaroni pasta, cooked
16 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
16 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated
2 quarts cheese sauce
½ cup bacon, chopped
2 teaspoons thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Equipment needed:

2 quarter-sheet trays
1 half-sheet tray

Instructions:

Warm cheese sauce in a medium saucepan. The sauce needs to be hot to mix well.

In a mixing bowl, add all ingredients and mix well to combine.

Line a quarter-sheet tray with plastic film, with at least 3 inches of overhang. Place mixture into the quarter-sheet tray and press evenly across the surface. Wrap in plastic film, place another quarter-sheet tray on top and press gently to shape. Wrap well and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight until firm.

Remove the trays from the refrigerator, flip upside down and peel back the plastic wrap. Cut the flattened mixture into 3/4-inch x 1-inch rectangles and place on a parchment-lined half-sheet tray. Refrigerate until needed.