Every year for Thanksgiving, my family gathers together to eat, drink and play games. And every year, I start getting text messages a few months out: “So….are you going to make that mac’n’cheese you made last year again? Because I’m craving it.” I’d call that a seal of approval!
I started making this recipe a few years ago, after finding the original recipe here. But, as all good lovers of cooking should, I’ve made a few adjustments. My recipe can be found below the image.
This isn’t your normal mac’n’cheese. The noodles are shaped so that the roux and cheese sticks perfectly. The blend of white cheeses creates a delicate, but very delicious flavor. One that at first seems simple, but then sucks you in for more and more bites. The breadcrumbs and bacon really top the dish off, and if you do it right, each bite will be enhanced by a bread crumb or bacon bit, giving you a good home-cooking feel that can’t be denied.
- 12 ounces cavatappi pasta
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick, solid)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk
- 2 cups (8 oz.) freshly shredded white cheddar cheese
- 1 cup (4 oz.) freshly shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 cup (4 oz.) freshly shredded fontina cheese
- 2 cups (8 oz.) freshly shredded asiago cheese
- 3 cups soft, fresh breadcrumbs (I use Italian bread and just rip it into small pieces)
- 1 cup chopped cooked bacon (I usually rip these bacon pieces apart after cooking the bacon and allowing it to cool)
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Boil pasta in salted water according to instructions.
- Grease 9×13 baking dish (to make sure the cheese doesn’t stick and you get every last bite).
- Combine the cheeses in a large bowl: Mix together the white cheddar, Monterey jack, fontina and asiago cheeses. Make sure they are well combined so they spread evenly once added to the pasta. Reserve 1.5 cups of cheese to add to the top of the mac’n’cheese before you place it in the oven.
- Make the roux: In a saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour until it is smooth and and add the milk slowly, whisking as it thickens up. I usually find it is easier to do this at a slightly higher temperature, and turn it up to medium-high, as long as you are constantly paying attention to it. It should be the consistency of a think gravy and should be bubbly. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, add the roux to the hot, cooked pasta. Add the cheese mixture (not the reserved 1.5 cups) to the pasta and roux, and pour into the greased baking dish. Add the reserved cheese to the top and spread out evenly.
- Take the breadcrumps and bacon pieces and combine in a bowl. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter and add to the bread and bacon mixture, tossing well to evenly coat each piece.
- Spread the bread and bacon mixture over the top of the macaroni dish.
- Place in the oven and bake 30-40 minutes.