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The Ultimate Mac and Cheese

October 13, 2009

Our first rain of the season arrived today. It was chilly and drippy outside–the exact kind of weather that makes you wish you had a fireplace and nothing to do with your day, so you could throw on a pair of worn sweatpants and a comfy sweatshirt and curl up on the couch with a good book as the fire cracks and pops and the rain outside patters on the windows and roof.

Since we don’t have a fireplace and my work schedule didn’t allow for any curl-up-on-the-couch-with-a-book breaks, I had to console myself with comfort food for dinner. Whenever it’s rainy outside, I always go for something warm (like soup or cheesy gooey pasta).

The perfect cheesy pasta for a relaxed night inside is Three Cheese Macaroni Bake (courtesy of my sister). It’s comfy like the boxed mac and cheese we grew up with, yet it’s sophisticated for our grown up (and more refined?) palates. The blend of three cheeses–sharp cheddar, Havarti, and Parmesan–creates a rich, smooth flavor. This dish is good served as a catch-up dinner with friends and on a stormy night, wrapped in a blanket with your best friend watching old movies.

*Note: Next time I try this recipe, I think I might substitute the cheddar for fontina…I love the creamy richness of fontina. Try making this with different cheeses to get the taste you like best. Let me know if you try different cheeses and how it turns out!

Three Cheese Macaroni Bake


1/2 lb. pasta (use penne or elbow macaroni, so that the sauce gets inside the pasta tubes)

3 Tablespoons butter

3 Tablespoons flour

1-1/2 cup milk

2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup grated Havarti cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 Tablespoon mustard (I used dijon)

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper


Cook pasta, set aside. Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour, cook and stir 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk, cook a few minutes to thicken. Whisk in cheese and seasonings, cook over low heat until cheese is melted. Stir in pasta and transfer to baking dish. (Optional: you can sprinkle some bread crumbs on top of pasta before baking). Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve and enjoy!


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Monica permalink
    October 15, 2009 6:23 pm

    Mi piace molto!!!

  2. Amy permalink
    July 27, 2010 3:30 pm

    I haven’t tried your recipe yet but it looks a lot like mine. I don’t bake mine though. I use Velveeta (I know, I know but it’s so good and creamy), cheddar, a little fontina and some provalone. The provalone is key. I used it once in an experiment and I won’t make it without again. Add a slice to your recipe and let me know what you think.

    • Liana permalink*
      August 12, 2010 6:03 pm

      Hi Amy,

      I will definitely have to try adding the provolone to mine. Thanks for the tip!

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