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Decadent Mac & Cheese

One of the first dishes I learned to make from scratch was my Grandmother’s macaroni and cheese.  We were very close and it’s always been such a nice memory. It was a fairly standard, old-fashioned recipe and was full of eggs, butter, and cheese aka - truck loads of fat and calories!! In the last few years I’ve been considering trying to update the recipe. Hubby and I love the multi-cheese options served in nicer steak houses so I thought I’d look into concocting something similar.

After much research and review of several websites, magazine articles and cookbooks, I put together a recipe that works really well and G loves it! The “cheese guy” at Publix spent about 30 minutes helping me choose flavors. (Yes, it was just as weird as it sounds.)

This isn’t a particularly difficult recipe but it’s not quick, for sure. I try to prep some of the ingredients a day or so ahead to save time putting it together on a school night. I go ahead and boil the noodles, grate the cheeses and pre-measure the dry ingredients (the flour and red pepper can be stored together). Unfortunately, it’s fairly expensive either because of the cheeses. But, the leftover cheese does keep really well for long periods and the leftovers freeze like a dream.

Printable recipe card here!


  •   16 oz. Box of Rigate or Penne pasta
  •   3 cups Med. Sharp Cheddar Cheese -shredded
  •   1 cup Smoked Gouda - shredded
  •   1 cup Gruyere - shredded
  •   ¼ tsp. Paprika
  •   ½ cup Butter
  •   ½ cup Flour
  •   3 cups Milk
  •   1/3- ½ cup Panko Breadcrumbs (I prefer seasoned)
  •   2 tbsp. Parmigiano-Reggiano (grated fine)

**Note: The Parmigiano-Reggiano will add all the salty flavor you’ll need. If you choose to use regular Parmesan instead you’ll want to add a pinch of table salt to the topping mix.**

Prepare pasta according to package directions. (Be sure to add salt, to taste, to the water when boiling) Grease bottom of large glass or ceramic dish (9×13) with 1 tbsp butter.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Melt butter in a heavy pot oven over low heat. Slowly whisk in flour and red pepper until smooth (about 2 minutes).

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Increase heat to medium. Gradually whisk in milk (1 cup at a time). Continue whisking until thickened (approximately 6 minutes). Remove from heat.

Mix together Cheddar, Gouda, and Gruyere cheeses in a medium bowl. Set aside 1 cup of mixture for topping. Add cheese mixture to sauce mixing until smooth and all cheese is melted. Add in pasta 1 spoonful at a time, tossing to coat.

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Spoon mixture into buttered baking dish. Top with reserved cheese mixture.

Mix together breadcrumbs and Parmigiano-Reggiano sprinkle over top. I prefer to use less breadcrumbs as a thicker layer doesn’t get a toasty.

Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes. (If you like the top a little more crunchy turn on the broiler for the last 3-4 minutes.)



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Decadent Mac & Cheese can be easily frozen for up to 2 months. (Notes on freezing coming soon!)

Click HERE for printable recipe card!


Linking up over at Wow us Wednesday, Met Monday,


Jennifer (White Tulip Studio) - 04/09/2015 - 7:47 am

Thank you Joy! I take that as a big compliment coming from you!

Joy @ Yesterfood - 04/08/2015 - 5:03 pm

Oh, this looks amazing, Jennifer! You used all my favorite cheeses. Is there anything better than a beautiful homemade mac and cheese? I don’t think so. Thank you for sharing this with us at Treasure Box Tuesday- pinned and tweeted! 🙂

Jennifer (White Tulip Studio) - 03/03/2015 - 4:16 pm

Thanks! You’re welcome!

April - 03/03/2015 - 3:38 pm

We love mac and cheese! This looks like an awesome recipe for us to try. Thanks for sharing.

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