I’ll be totally honest… When I first heard of this dish, truthfully, it sounded…  Gross. I mean, I love mac-and-cheese, but I am not a wine person, I’m really not a red wine person, and I’m really not a big fan of pairing alcohol with dairy (a neurosis that I know is totally unique to me, but completely justified after I got sick off of bad queso during Superbowl Sunday in 2010).

But since starting this little food adventure over a year ago, this has been my consistently most requested recipe and people email me for it constantly, and now that I finally got the official recipe from Disney, I kind of had to give it a try.

When it comes to signature dishes at Disney, this one tops almost everybody’s list. The perfect blend of luxury (and alcohol) with down-home comfort food.  It was impossible to mention the food at Jiko without somebody mentioning how great this mac-and-cheese was.


In fact, the buzz on this dish was so huge that most newbies (myself included) didn’t even realize that this was a luxurious side to a filet Mignon dish, not the actual main course. Seriously, how good does mac-and-cheese have to be to get people to not care about the super expensive cut of meat it’s with?

When it was recently retired from the regular menu, people everywhere were crushed… The chef at Jiko was sweet enough make it upon request for awhile, but even that has quietly been discontinued. As of right now, according to everybody I’ve asked, regardless of how much one cries, begs, pleads, bribes, or otherwise tries to have this dish made for them, it’s no longer offered.

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This may or may not be because the Chef de Cuisine has reportedly gone on to bigger and better things (like assisting in some little Food and Wine event and running the first floor restaurants at hotel called the Grand Floridian), but, regardless, the dish is officially gone.

The good news is, like most signature dishes, the exact recipe was never made available outside of the restaurant.  However, now that the meal is out of rotation, Disney was more then happy to pass it on to me now. I was genuinely surprised to find that it’s really much, much easier to make then I could have even guessed. Disney surprises me again with yet another easy meal that looks like a million dollars.

The only big variable that Disney couldn’t quite answer for me was the actual brand of wine that they use. I’m sure it’s because it depends on what brands they’re contracted with or have available at the time. The best advice I can give on that front is to stick with a trusted brand or, if you’re like me and you don’t drink wine, look for something that is sweeter, a light or medium-body wine, which apparently means it’s not as strong.

I’d share the brand that I got but, honestly, I have no idea. The bottle was neat and the price was right and I’d be lying if I’d said I based my choice off of anything deeper then that.

I was so nervous making this… As I was making the wine sauce, I tasted it a few times and it was so strong, I didn’t care for it at all. I was worried that it wasn’t going to come together, that it’d be inedible. I was even convinced that as I was plating and photographing the meal that I wasn’t going to enjoy it and this would be one of those meals that everybody loves but I didn’t “get.”

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The mac-and-cheese portion was, of course, crazy delicious, but I was convinced that when I added the red wine sauce, it’d be disgusting. I was literally dreading the first full bite.

Turns out, I’m insane for being so worried. This was pretty much the most amazing plate of mac-and-cheese I’ve had in my entire life. The wine sauce wasn’t strong at all and there was no really heavy wine taste to it (though I didn’t reduce it enough… Two servings of it and I was feeling a little floaty).

It was sweet and delicious and pretty much the most perfect plate of mac-and-cheese in the world. Visually, it’s really a striking dish and I’m bummed that the pictures don’t do it nearly the justice it deserves. White noodles on a burgundy red sauce?  Very dramatic.

This was a huge, huge hit in my house. I’d, for sure, not include the wine sauce if I was serving anybody under 21, and it feels weird to say that you maybe shouldn’t drive after you eat it (especially if you didn’t reduce it enough)… But still, I can’t say enough about how awesome this meal was. Now I totally get why people went nuts over this meal.

By the way… This makes a ton. Seriously.

~~~~  °o°  ~~~~

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Mac And Cheese With Red Wine Sauce – Jiko

  • Author: adminthedisneychef


Mac and Cheese with Red Wine Sauce

As is served at Jiko, Animal Kingdom Lodge




Mac and Cheese

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cup mixture of asiago, provolone, fontina, and gruyere cheese
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked per package directions, slightly undercooked/al dente

Red Wine Sauce 

  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 6 peppercorns, a mixture of red and black
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 cup port wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate syrup


Mac and Cheese

Melt butter and whisk in flour, creating a roux over low heat. Add milk, using slightly less then a quart for a thicker sauce.  Bring milk to a simmer while whisking constantly to break up the roux. As sauce thickens, add cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

If the sauce is too thick, thin as needed if the sauce with remaining milk. Pour over macaroni and place in an oven-safe serving bowl.  Heat through in a moderate oven, if needed.

Red Wine Sauce

Add all ingredients to large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer 2-3 hours until reduced by half to two-thirds depending on strength of the wine. Strain. Allow to cool approximately 10 minutes.
To assemble, pour red wine sauce on the bottom of individual plates or bowls. Top with warmed mac-and-cheese.  Serve immediately.


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