Mac & Cheese….Yes, Please!!!

When I think of comfort food, one of the first things that come to mind is mac & cheese. Gooey, warm, and of course, cheesy delicious!

One of my favorite recipes is a 4 Cheese Penne Bake – penne pasta, garlic and parmesan white sauce – tossed with loads of shredded cheese: cheddar, mozzarella, jack and parmesan. Cover the whole thing with some fresh, herby bread crumbs for a nice crunch.


Gooey, melted cheese bake – yum!
Photo from Dishing with Kathy Casey.

Mac & Cheese is perfect to customize. You can add so many flavorful sauce additions like salsa, roasted garlic, fresh herbs, or switch up the cheese combinations with your favorites.

For a fun party idea how about serving a pan of house made mac & cheese. Then set out a variety of toppings for guests to build their own bowl. Think pulled pork, crab or shrimp, BBQ chicken, roasted red peppers, green onions, corn salsa, roasted artichokes, sautéed mushrooms, sausage, green chilies… Nothing is off limits!

So get creative and dish up some cheesy goodness! –Kathy

4 Cheese Penne Bake With Herb Bread Crumbs
Generously serves 6 – 8

Herb Bread Crumbs (recipe follows)
4 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
4 1/2 Tbsp. flour
4 cups milk*
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup grated high-quality Parmesan cheese
1 pound dry penne pasta
2 cups (8 oz. wt.) grated four-cheese blend**
2 cups (8 oz. wt.) grated Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Make the Herb Bread Crumbs and set aside.

In a large heavy-bottom sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir around for about 20 seconds — do not let garlic brown. Stir in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.

While stirring vigorously with a whisk, add the milk. Whisk well. Bring to a simmer and whisk occasionally until sauce is thickened, about 3 – 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt, pepper, sour cream and Parmesan cheese, and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook penne pasta per package directions until done. Drain well.

In a very large bowl mix together the pasta and sauce, then fold in the grated cheeses until well combined. Place mixture into a lightly buttered, 13-inch x 9-inch baking pan.

Sprinkle with Herb Bread Crumbs and bake in a 375-degree oven for about 30 minutes or until pasta is heated through, sides are slightly bubbling and top is golden brown.

Chef’s Notes:
*For an even richer macaroni and cheese substitute half & half for the milk.

**Four-, five- and six-cheese blends are available in most grocers’ dairy sections. If you wish to make your own grated cheese blend, try using a mixture of any of the following: Jack, mozzarella, Gouda, Swiss, Havarti.

Herb Bread Crumbs
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

3 cups packed, 1-inch French bread chunks
4 Tbsp. butter
pinch salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. dry basil leaves
1/2 tsp. dry thyme leaves

Place bread crumb ingredients in a food processor, and pulse processor on and off until the bread becomes chopped into a fine crumb and is well mixed with the other ingredients.

Bread crumbs should be refrigerated until used and can be kept frozen for up to 1 month.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios® – www.KathyCasey.com

Posted by Kathy on November 1st, 2018  |  Comments Off on Mac & Cheese….Yes, Please!!! |  Posted in Amazon, Books to Cook, Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, garlic, herbs, Kathy Casey, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes

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