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Macaroni and Cheese

IMG_6928I purchased an arsenal of cheeses recently and wanted the gooey goodness of macaroni and cheese.  The four cheeses I used were Fontina, Gruyere, White Cheddar, and Romano.  I topped the macaroni and cheese with fresh breadcrumbs.  Baked it in the oven for 30 minutes at 375 °F.  It did not take long for the vultures um I  mean family members to descend upon it and finish it off.

Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese


Serves 6


  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 3/4 cup milk, heated in microwave 2 minutes
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 oz grated Fontina cheese
  • 3 oz grated Gruyere cheese
  • 3 oz grated white cheddar cheese
  • 3 oz Romano cheese
  • 8 oz cooked elbow macaroni (just underdone)
  • Topping:
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (from French bread)


Cook the elbow macaroni according to instructions, but drain before they are completely cooked through, but no longer crunchy.

Preheat the oven to 375 °F.

In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat to melt it.  After the butter has melted, whisk in the flour and salt.  Cook for about 1 minute.  Add the warm milk to the roux slowly, whisking constantly to get the lumps out.  Cook until it is bubbly and begins to thicken.  Reduce the heat.

Add the grated cheeses and stir until the cheese is melted. Turn the burner off. Combine the cheese sauce with the drained elbow macaroni.

Butter a baking dish and pour the macaroni and cheese into the prepared dish.

Sprinkle the top with the remaining Romano cheese.  In a small bowl, combine the melted butter with the breadcrumbs and stir to combine.  Sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs over the top of the macaroni and cheese.

Bake in 375 °F preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the breadcrumbs are golden brown and toasted.

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Panera’s Mac and Cheese

I don’t know a bout you, but I love Panera!  I love their sandwiches, soups, and sides.  Their macaroni and cheese is quite outstanding and creamy.  After ordering the side recently I went home wanting to find a copycat recipe for the dish.. but I didn’t have to… as it turns out, Panera is quite willing to share the recipe with everyone.  I made it too – I did not have the exact cheeses – I used yellow American cheese instead of white American cheese, and it still turned out quite close to the one they sell.  They use shells in the recipe, but you could use any pasta you like. The surprising ingredient in the Panera recipe is a dash of Frank’s Hot Sauce.  It is very subtle though.

Here is a link to Panera’s Recipe.


Grown Up Macaroni and Cheese

Sorry blue box, move over it is time for some grown up Macaroni and Cheese to get the spotlight.  Here is a version the adults in my family like.   This recipe has a kick of cayenne pepper that makes the mature palate smile.  I found it in a Martha Stewart Cookbook (Macaroni and Cheese 101 recipe), but hers serves 12.  Only Martha Stewart would serve Macaroni and Cheese to 12!  When I have 12 over it isn’t Mac and Cheese, so come to my house! 🙂  Nevertheless, this is a great recipe that I have adapted to serve 6.

Martha’s Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 6


  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 6 slices bread, crusts removed and processed into crumbs

Cheese Sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper (or black is fine if you don’t have white)
  • 1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 (10 oz) block Cracker Barrel Cheddar cheese, grated, divided use
  • 3/4 cup Romano cheese, divided use
  • 8 oz Macaroni, cooked


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Melt the butter and toss with processed breadcrumbs and set aside.
  3. Melt remaining 3 Tbsp. butter in a heavy skillet over medium high heat.  Once the butter bubbles up add flour and whisk until it thickens about 1 minute.  Add the warm milk a little at a time, whisking to make a smooth sauce.  Continue adding the milk and cooking it until it is thickened.  Turn off the heat.  Add in the seasonings and 1 1/2 cups of the cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup Romano cheese. Stir into the sauce until melted.
  4. Drain the cooked pasta and add to the cheese sauce.  Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray and pour the macaroni into the prepared dish.  Top with remaining 3/4 cups of cheddar and 1/4 cup Romano cheeses.  Sprinkle with the buttered breadcrumbs. (I usually don’t put all on the topping)
  5. Bake at 375 F for about 30 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes before serving.  Yummy!

In case you are interested in Martha’s original recipe here is a link.

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