That’s right….I said it…Five Cheese Mac & Cheese! We were invited to a Halloween party last night and I volunteered to bring a Mac and Cheese dish. Well, I couldn’t decide on which recipe I wanted to make…so I made two! After returning from vacation where I was out of the kitchen for a week but filled with daily cooking inspiration, I jumped at the chance. That may sound weird, but it is actually really tough for me to stay out of any kitchen! So, this is the first one, stay tuned for the second, I’m sure it will surface soon. Hint….it included bacon!
I do love my comfort foods. We have one child who shall remain nameless but is 10 and loves Mac and Cheese out of a box…you know the one. Does anyone else have one of these kids? I just keep hoping that one day when he’s off in college, he’ll appreciate my home cooking. I considered it a challenge to come up with the right cheese combination where it’s tasty, kid-friendly (i.e. not too stinky) and definitely healthier. This, my friends is it. It’s ooey, it’s gooey, delicious and has a nice crunchy topping to add texture to every bite. There are so many versions out there, this is my favorite and was inspired with elements from Tyler Florence.
I consider this an elevated version of your typical Mac and Cheese because to me, each cheese adds its own value and each cheese has a synergistic effect to the entire dish. So, whether you decide to make this for your family on a cold, rainy night or you bring it to someone’s home for a party…it’s sure to impress. Easy to prepare, ingredients are readily available and who doesn’t love a little Mac & Cheese now and then? I will post the other variations and recipes on my blog as well, it’s really a versatile dish that you can do so much with and have a lot of fun with!
Five Cheese Mac and Cheese
That's right, I said it...Five Cheese Mac & Cheese, the ultimate comfort food. This elevated recipe is sure to please everyone!
Heat oven to 425 F. Bring large pot of salted water to a boil.
In a saucepan, add cream, milk, sprigs of thyme, bay leaf and smashed garlic. Bring to a low simmer for 10 minutes.
In a large saute pan, add 3 Tablespoons butter and melt. Add 3 Tablespoons flour and cook for about 5 minutes until light golden in color, this is the roux.
Strain milk mixture slowly into flour mixture to remove the thyme sprigs, bay leaf and garlic cloves. Whisk as you add so that you don't get any lumps. Add dry mustard, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Boil pasta for 2 minutes less than package instructions, drain.
Add cheese to the béchamel sauce and stir until completely smooth.
In another small pan, heat over medium low, add butter and panko bread crumbs to lightly toast. Set aside.
Add cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and combine completely. Taste for seasoning, you may need to add more salt and pepper at this point. Pour into a baking dish, top with parmesan and panko crumbs. Place in the oven for about 5 minutes just to toast the top. Sprinkle some fresh thyme over the top and serve!
I realize it's more work to grate each cheese by hand (or food processor), but I promise it's worth it. Some of the packaged shredded cheeses sold in the store are actually padded with fillers. Best to stick with actual cheese, right?
Hi! I'm Aly! I was born in New Zealand, but have spent most of my life in the beautiful Bay Area of California. My husband and I have been married for 16 years and have 3 kids. I am an avid home cook who loves to cook and entertain for our family and friends. I am currently enrolled in the Culinary Arts program at our local Community College to continue learning about something I am so passionate about. My culinary point of view is to take everyday recipes and elevate them, from my kitchen to yours. Cheers!