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Baked Three-Cheese Macaroni

Total Time

Prep: 20 min. Bake: 30 min.

Makes

12 servings

Legendary mac and cheese is a must-have for big family events. This ultimate comfort food is a divine blend of cheddar, Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses. —Joan Sullivan, Gambrills, Maryland
Baked Three-Cheese Macaroni Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 1 package (16 ounces) elbow macaroni or fusilli pasta
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups 2% milk, warmed
  • 4 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cook macaroni in a 6-qt. stockpot according to package directions for al dente. Drain; return to pot.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth; whisk in warmed milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Remove from heat; stir in Gruyere and cheddar cheeses, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add to macaroni, tossing to coat.
  4. Transfer to a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Toss bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese and melted butter; sprinkle over casserole. Bake, uncovered, 30-40 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden brown.

Three-Cheese Macaroni Tips

How do you keep mac and cheese creamy?

For the ultimate creamy macaroni and cheese, try our Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese recipe instead. It won't have the crunchy top layer that this baked version has, but using the stove makes it decadently creamy.
To make the creamiest version of this baked macaroni and cheese, avoid overheating the milk and butter mixture. Heat it for just the recommended 2 or 3 minutes—after that, it may start to evaporate.

What can I substitute for Gruyere?

Gruyere cheese is a firmer, aged cheese that's full of flavor. However, you can use a different aged cheese, such as Gouda or cheddar, instead. The flavor will be different, but it'll still have depth and character.

Why does cheese curdle in mac and cheese?

If you aren't using shredded cheese, it may take too long to melt and the sauce may overcook before the cheese is smooth. Make sure all of the cheeses are shredded (instead of cubed), and stir everything well over low heat to make a smooth sauce.

What goes well with three-cheese macaroni?

A big serving of green vegetables is a nice complement to rich macaroni and cheese. Try this Roasted Dijon Broccoli or a simple green salad with basil vinaigrette.Round out the meal with some protein-packed meatballs or homemade chicken nuggets for your kids (or your inner kid).

Research contributed by Catherine Ward, Taste of Home Prep Kitchen Manager

Nutrition Facts

3/4 cup: 487 calories, 24g fat (14g saturated fat), 76mg cholesterol, 515mg sodium, 41g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 2g fiber), 27g protein.

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