Mac and Cheese

Source: Necessary Indulgences

Mac and Cheese

~1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
~1 cup grated Fontina cheese
~1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
~2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 pound elbow macaroni
1/4 cup panko
1 stick of butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups half and half
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 3-quart baking dish.

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over low heat. Add the flour and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and whisk in the half and half little by little (sometimes I use heavy cream). Cook until thickened, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove from the heat, season with the salt, pepper and 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Cover and set aside.

Large pot of water and bring to a boil. Add salt and macaroni stir and bring to a boil until macaroni is very al dente (almost cooked through… it will cook more in the oven).

Drain and return the macaroni to the pot. Add 4 tablespoons of the butter and the garlic and stir to combine. (this is an MPORTANT step and worth it!)

Add the cheese sauce and stir until well combined. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the grated Cheddar, Fontina, Gruyere and about 3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses. Toss to combine.

Place one-third of the macaroni in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with one-third of the mixed cheeses. Top with another third of the macaroni and another third of the cheese mixture. Repeat with the remaining macaroni and cheese mixture.

In a small bowl combine panko with the remaining 1/4 grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Sprinkle this over the top of the macaroni and cheese.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the macaroni and cheese is bubbly and hot and the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.