Three Cheese Mac and Cheese

It has been cold here and even as I type that I know you readers in the midwest or east are shaking your head. We are weather wimps here in Southern California. This weekend my niece and nephews were coming over and one of them loves Mac and Cheese. They were meeting my new dog Rocco, who I found through a local rescue Love 4 Canines.

Isn’t he sweet? Other than a little barking issue when we leave him, Rocco could not be a better dog. Thank you to those who left me sweet notes after Max died. I was really impressed by the quality of rescue organizations in this area. The Kenmar Rescue in Los Angeles was also amazing and so helpful. There are so many people serving as foster homes for these dogs who are waiting for a home.

I saw this recipe and thought the combination would make for a rich Mac and Cheese. I used a Vermont White Cheddar, Gruyere and a French Double Creme Brie. My topping is a mixture of panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, mostly because that is what I had on hand. If I wasn’t serving this to children I might add a bit of red pepper to give it a little kick.

My nephew told me to tell you he loved it. He doesn’t say that often. Hopefully you will to. You can make a day ahead of time and cover with foil to refrigerate. Sprinkle some cream on the top before reheating.

Three Cheese Mac and Cheese
very loosely adapted from Epicurious.com

1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces)
3/4 cup diced rindless Brie (cut from 1-pound wedge)
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1/8 cup all purpose flour
1teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon mustard
2 cups whole milk

3/4 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

1/2 pound penne pasta

Mix all cheeses together in a bowl. Cover and chill until ready to use. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir until mixture turns golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add mustard, thyme and nutmeg. Gradually whisk in milk. Simmer until thickened and smooth, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Add cheeses an stir until melted and smooth.

Milk mac and cheese
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add breadcrumbs, salt and pepper; toss. Stir until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl and mix in parmesan  cheese.

Mac ready to bake
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook pasta in boiling salted water until tender but firm to bite. Drain. Transfer to large bowl. Pour cheese sauce over; toss. Place in a casserole dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture. Bake until top is golden brown.

Mac and Cheese ready to serve to your family!

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