4 Cheese Mac & Cheese with Garlic Parmesan Crunch

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Listen, forget about your diet for this 4 Cheese Mac and Cheese with Garlic Parmesan Crunch. Don’t try and analyze or see if u can work it into your diet program. You cant. Let’s just call it like it is, this is a decadent, indulgent, cheesy, creamy, food coma-inducing recipe. We do not speak when we eat this, our eyes close, and the table turns to silence except for the occasional moan and groan you hear with each creamy bite.

This is a great recipe for any occasion, you can prep it beforehand and just stick it in the oven to warm through when guests arrive. This is always a crowd-pleaser for both adults and children.

Here is what you will need to make our Mac & Cheese:

Things to keep in mind:

  • Cook pasta al denta – We don’t want mushy pasta in our mac and cheese. Follow the instructions on the back of your pasta package for the cooking time. We cooked ours for 6 min.
  • Use cold milk.
  • Add the bechamel to the cheese off the stove for a creamy well-incorporated cheese sauce.
  • Use any combination of cheese you like as long as it equates to the same weight measurement. We used four kinds of cheese; Gruyere, Mozzarella, White Cheddar, and Raclette, feel free to use any combination you like.
  • Do not use pre-shredded cheese. Pre-shredded packages of cheese have additives that prevent clumping and will impede the creamy, stringy, melting texture we want for this.
  • The crunchy topping: Use any stale bread or fresh bread you have, we used a leftover piece of a baguette. You can also use panko bread crumbs or normal bread crumbs. 

The crunchy topping

This adds a great punch of flavor and crunch to your Mac and cheese. In your blender add two cloves of garlic, a couple tablespoons of fresh parsley, and some grated parmesan cheese, pulse to bring together. Cut your fresh bread into squares and pulse together with garlic and parsley. If using store-bought bread crumbs, place pulsed garlic+parmesan+parsley mixture into a bowl and mix together with bread crumbs.

Béchamel Cheese Sauce

Ingredients:

  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Milk
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Any combination of cheese equivalent to (510grams) We used Gruyere, Raclette, White Cheddar
  • Whole grain mustard
  • Cayenne (optional)

The trickiest part of making mac and cheese is the Béchamel. Béchamel, considered one of the 5 mother sauces of cooking, is a thick white sauce made with a roux (equal parts of fat, usually butter, and flour cooked together to form a paste-like mixture.) A roux is used in many recipes to thicken soups and sauces, learning how to make it properly will come in handy in your kitchen technique arsenal.

Let’s get started

Grate all your cheese’s on the large hole side of your cheese grater. Place Raclette + White Cheddar + Gruyere into a large heatproof bowl.

Start off by melting 1/2 cup butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook this for 2-3 minutes until it stops bubbling and splattering.

Add in 1/2 a cup of flour and keep whisking, incorporating the butter into the flour, it will reach a paste-like consistency. Cook for 2-3 minutes to get rid of the raw flour smell.

Now we’re going to slowly start adding in our cold milk 1/2 a cup at a time. Each time we add 1/2 a cup we whisk well until fully incorporated and then continue with the next 1/2 cup. Your mixture will keep getting smoother and smoother. Once all your liquid is incorporated, bring up the heat to medium-high and continue to whisk making sure you scrape the bottom of the pan until your mixture comes to a simmer and begins to thicken. Once thickened to a consistency slightly thicker than heavy cream you are done.

Remove from the heat and immediately pour over your 3 cheese mixture. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is smooth. The heat from the béchamel should melt all your cheeses (Don’t worry if there are a few little lumps these will melt in the oven). Add in your whole grain mustard + salt + pepper+cayanne(optional). That’s it, you are done. You have made a béchamel-based cheese sauce. Pat yourself on the back.

With a spatula mix in your pasta.

Putting it all together.

Into a heatproof casserole dish. Place half your béchamel pasta mixture, top with your cubed mozzarella and half of your remaining grated white cheddar. Add in the rest of the mixture and top with more grated cheddar. Finally, top with our breadcrumb mixture. Place into a preheated 175-degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Until the top is brown and the mixture is bubbling.

Variations

There are so many things you can add to Mac and cheese to make it even more interesting. Try any of these for Mac and cheese kicked up a notch:

  • Braised Beef: shred about 1 1/2 cups of braised beef. Add-in with your pasta+cheese mixture before adding to your casserole dish.
  • Buffalo Chicken: How about some buffalo chicken mac and cheese for a spicy kick. Add about 1/2 cup shredded chicken in with your pasta+cheese mixture then add in about 1/2 cup of hot sauce (or to your taste) before adding to your casserole dish.
  • Cauliflower: Boil or steam some cauliflower in a saucepan until fork tender. Add-in with your pasta+cheese mixture before adding to your casserole dish.
  • Truffle: Truffle is one of the best combos for mac and cheese. Truffle oil has become readily available in a lot of supermarkets. Add 2 tablespoons to your pasta+cheese mixture before adding to your casserole dish.

If you try this 4 Cheese Mac & Cheese with Garlic Parmesan Crunch, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #thetablediaries on Instagram. We love seeing all the recipes you and your family enjoy.

4 Cheese Mac and Cheese with Garlic Parmesan Topping

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Oven Baking 15 mins
Total Time 40 mins

Ingredients

  • 500 grams pasta
  • 113 grams butter 1/2 cup
  • 64 grams flour 1/2 cup
  • 4 cups cold milk
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp parsley
  • 1.5 cup loaf bread cubed We used baguette
  • 170 grams block of mozzarella cubed (2cmx2cm)
  • 270 grams white cheddar (freshly grate) 170 grams for the bechamel cheese sauce. 100 grams for the top and middle of the casserole.
  • 170 grams gruyere (freshly grate)
  • 170 grams raclette (freshly grate) this is a bit difficult to grate make sure it's straight out of the fridge
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • salt 1/4 tsp – 1/2tsp according to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • cayenne (optional)
  • 2 tbsp whole grain mustard

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 175°C

Boil the pasta

  • Bring a large pot of liberally salted water to a boil. Drop-in your pasta and cook according to the package instructions. Ours was 6 minutes.

Garlic Parmesan Bread Crumbs

  • Place the garlic + parsley + parmesan in a food processor pulse until they're minced. Add in 1.5 cups of fresh cubed bread and pulse again until the breadcrumbs form. Set Aside.

The Béchamel Cheese Sauce

  • Place your grated Raclette + White Cheddar + Gruyere into a large heatproof bowl. (Reserve the extra 100 grams of white cheddar for later)
  • Melt 1/2 a cup butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook this for 2-3 minutes until it stops bubbling and splattering.
  • Add in 1/2 a cup of flour and keep whisking, incorporating the butter into the flour, it will reach a paste-like consistency. Cook for 2-3 minutes to get rid of the raw flour smell.
  • Slowly add ½ cup milk while whisking together until it reaches a smooth paste then add another ½ cup, whisk until smooth. Continue to do this until all the milk has been used.
  • Once all your liquid is incorporated, bring up the heat to medium-high and continue to whisk making sure u scrape the bottom of the pan until your mixture comes to a simmer and begins to thicken. The consistency should be just thicker than heavy cream.
  • Remove from the heat and immediately pour over our 3 cheese mixture. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is smooth. Add in salt + pepper + whole grain mustard + cayenne(optional).
  • Mix in your cooked pasta.

Baking

  • In a casserole dish place half the pasta mixture. Top with all of the cubed mozzarella and 50 grams of grated cheddar cheese. Then top with the other half of the pasta mixture. Add another 50 grams of grated cheddar cheese on top. Then top with the garlic parmesan bread crumbs.
  • Place in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the bread crumbs have browned and the mac and cheese is bubbling.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: mac and cheese

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