You know, for all this blog’s name is the “Three Cheeses,” I really don’t post enough recipes with three cheeses in them. Considering how much I, and those I cook for, love cheese, this is a bit amazing. What’s even more amazing is that we now live next to a Harris Farm, which means that getting great local / artisan / quality cheeses is incredibly easy. One would argue too easy. So, in a quest to remedy the blog’s lack of cheesiness (har har), I went and invested in a variety of cheeses with this amazing classic in mind. And you even get a bonus cheese!
The result? A beautifully, mouth-wateringly, cheesy dish. And it was so easy to make. I realize that so many other people would have made some sort of Haloumi-in-cheese-fondue gourmet extravaganza (and that may yet still happen!), but seriously, why mess with a good thing? Macaroni & cheese is just about one of the best things in life. The only thing better is cold mac & cheese, but that might just be a throwback to my kitchen raid at summer camp days.
So the next time you need a comfort food pick-me-up, keep this classic in mind!
The Four Cheeses Macaroni
Makes: 8-10 servings
Cooking time: 40 minutes
- 4 tbsp + 2 tbsp butter
- 500 g / 1 lb medium pasta shells (I used macaroni, other shapes would work too)
- 1/4 cup plain flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1 cup beer (replace with milk if preferred)
- 400 g / 14 oz (about 3-4 cups grated) of cheeses of your choice (I used 100 g each of cheddar, mozzarella, swiss, and camembert)
- 1 tbsp each Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cups coarse bread crumbs (6 slices of bread)
- salt and pepper, to taste
Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until very al dente, according to package instructions. Drain once almost cooked and pour into a lightly greased 9×13″ baking dish.
Meanwhile as your pasta is cooking, in a separate saucepan, melt 4 tbsp of the butter until liquid. Add the flour and whisk so it forms a paste, cook for 2-3 minutes but do not brown. Slowly add the milk and beer, adding about 1/2 cup at a time and whisking each time until no lumps can be seen and the sauce thickens. Add a pinch of salt and a few generous grinds of pepper, the Dijon and the Worcestershire, and stir well.
Grate or roughly chop all of the cheese and stir it into the white sauce. Continue stirring the white sauce on medium-low heat until no (or very few) cheese lumps can be seen. Taste and adjust as necessary—add more Dijon or Worcestershire, salt, or pepper (cheese is quite salty so you probably won’t need much salt). Pour over the mostly cooked pasta in the pan, and stir carefully so that pasta is coated with cheese sauce.
Melt remaining two tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the bread crumbs, toss to coat slightly. Sprinkle evenly over the pasta in the dish. Bake at 400 F / 200 C for 15-20 minutes until topping is golden and sauce is bubbling. If your dish is very very full, be sure to put a rimmed baking tray under it in the oven to avoid a baked cheese mess!
Let cool slightly before serving. Try not to eat it all at once!