Best Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

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25 users rated this recipe an average rating of 3.5
  • Makes: 6 servings
  • Serving Size: 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups
  • Yields: about 9 1/2 cups
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Broil: 2 mins
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Best Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese
Ingredients
 
Nonstick cooking spray
1
16 ounce package dried cavatappi or corkscrew-shape pasta
3
tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3
cup finely chopped onion (1 small)
3
tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2
teaspoon kosher salt
1/4
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2
cups milk
8
ounces Gouda cheese, shredded* (2 cups)
4
ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded* (1 cup)
4
ounces Swiss cheese, shredded* (1 cup)
1/2
cup grated Parmesan cheese
1
teaspoon unsalted butter
2/3
cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
 
Snipped fresh parsley (optional)
Directions
  1. Preheat broiler. Coat a 2 1/2- to 3-quart broiler-safe au gratin or baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.** Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boiling. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and return to the warm pot.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan melt the 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Stir in flour, kosher salt, and pepper. Add milk all at once. Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Cook and whisk for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
  3. Add Gouda cheese, cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, whisking until cheeses are melted and sauce is smooth. Add the cheese sauce to cooked pasta; stir to coat. Transfer mixture to prepared dish.
  4. In a small microwave-safe bowl melt the 1 teaspoon butter. Stir in panko and the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle panko mixture over pasta mixture. Broil 5 to 6 inches from the heat about 2 minutes or until top is browned. If desired, garnish with parsley.
From the Test Kitchen
Truffle Macaroni and Cheese:

Prepare Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese as directed, except drizzle crumb topping with 1 to 2 tablespoons truffle oil before broiling.

Nutrition analysis per serving: 759 calories, 36 g protein, 72 g carbohydrate, 36 g total fat (20 g sat. fat), 111 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 9 g total sugar, 20% Vitamin A, 2% Vitamin C, 858 mg sodium, 77% calcium, 17% iron

Bacon-Blue Macaroni and Cheese:

Prepare Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese as directed, except stir 3 slices crisp-cooked, drained, and crumbled bacon and 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (1 ounce) into panko mixture before sprinkling over pasta mixture.

Nutrition analysis per serving: 781 calories, 39 g protein, 72 g carbohydrate, 37 g total fat (22 g sat. fat), 120 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 9 g total sugar, 21% Vitamin A, 2% Vitamin C, 1029 mg sodium, 80% calcium, 18% iron

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese:

Prepare Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese as directed, except preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes, in the prepared baking pan. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over squash pieces; toss to coat. Roast, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir cooked squash into pasta with the cheese sauce.

Nutrition analysis per serving: 822 calories, 37 g protein, 83 g carbohydrate, 38 g total fat (21 g sat. fat), 111 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber, 11 g total sugar, 213% Vitamin A, 30% Vitamin C, 862 mg sodium, 81% calcium, 21% iron

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese:

Prepare Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese as directed, except substitute white cheddar cheese for the sharp cheddar cheese and fontina cheese for the Swiss cheese. Stir one 15-ounce can pumpkin and 1 tablespoon snipped fresh sage into cheese sauce before adding to pasta.

Nutrition analysis per serving: 765 calories, 37 g protein, 77 g carbohydrate, 34 g total fat (21 g sat. fat), 116 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber, 11 g total sugar, 242% Vitamin A, 8% Vitamin C, 977 mg sodium, 74% calcium, 23% iron

*Tip:

To ensure a smooth, creamy dish, our Test Kitchen recommends buying chunks of cheese and shredding the cheese just before using. Using preshredded cheese did not work as well.

**Tip:

Baked Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese: If you don't have a broiler-safe baking dish, preheat oven to 450 degrees F. After sprinkling pasta mixture with panko mixture, bake about 10 minutes or until panko mixture is golden brown.

Nutrition Facts (Best Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese)
    Per serving:
  • 739 kcal cal.,
  • 34 g fat
  • (20 g sat. fat,
  • 1 g polyunsaturated fat,
  • 9 g monounsatured fat),
  • 111 mg chol.,
  • 858 mg sodium,
  • 72 g carb.,
  • 3 g fiber,
  • 9 g sugar,
  • 36 g pro.
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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