Fancy Mac ‘n Cheese with Garlic Butter Breadcrumbs
Serve this four cheese mac ‘n cheese with Chicken Thighs with Louisiana-Style Gravy.
- 1 pound whole wheat macaroni or penne pasta
- 6 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- About 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (a generous handful)
- A handful of flat leaf parsley, very finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- 1/3 pound Gruyère cheese, shredded
- 1/4 pound sharp white cheddar cheese
- 1/4 pound fontina cheese, such as Fontina Val D’Aosta or aged Gouda cheese
- 1 rounded tablespoon Dijon mustard
Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water and cook the pasta until 2 minutes shy of the suggested cooking time. Drain.
In a saucepot, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Grate the garlic directly into the butter or mince the garlic and mash it into paste with a little salt before adding it to the pot. Stir the garlic in the butter for a minute, then pour into a small bowl. Add the breadcrumbs and work the garlic butter through breadcrumbs with your fingertips. Combine with the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and parsley.
Return the butter pot to the stove and melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Whisk in the flour, let cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the milk. Bring to a bubble, then let the sauce thicken until it coats the back of a spoon, 8-10 minutes. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg, to taste. With a wooden spoon, stir the Gruyère, cheddar and fontina cheeses into the sauce in a figure-eight motion. Once the cheese melts, add the Dijon mustard.
Toss the sauce with the drained macaroni and transfer to a baking dish or individual dishes. Top the mac ‘n cheese with the breadcrumbs and bake for 30 minutes or so until brown and bubbly. Serve with green salad as a main dish or alongside your favorite entrée as a tasty side dish.