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This is not your average macaroni and cheese. This Adult Macaroni and Cheese has bold flavor with a rich creamy sauce made with Gruyère, extra sharp cheddar and blue cheeses, topped with crispy bread crumbs and brightened up with fresh basil.
I wanted to try my hand at homemade Macaroni and Cheese. However, I didn’t want just any ordinary Mac and Cheese recipe. I wanted one so good that it made you want to smack yourself. Who else better to inspire me than Ina Garten. I had actually seen her make Macaroni and Cheese with Lobster. Oh how dreamy that would be, but I’m not about to contaminate lobster meat, because I don’t live up in The Hamptons where lobsters are so plentiful. The recipe I found had that variation and one that uses bacon. It was Meatless Monday, so I didn’t choose either of these variations. I wanted to celebrate the cheesy gooeyness without contamination with no meat added.
David and I visited Wegmans last weekend, especially for their Italian sausages. While inside, we visited the sushi bar for lunch. We also visited our favorite stop inside, the cheese bar!!
Ironically, they happened to be tasting a French Blue Cheese. I already found the recipe I was going to use and had already decided to leave the blue cheese out. I don’t understand it, but I don’t like blue cheese. At least that is what I thought until I tried what the lady conducting the cheese tasting was giving out. Surprisingly, this French Blue Cheese called St. Agur was really good. The cheese consultant agreed with me. She didn’t care for blue cheese either, but she liked this one too. I told her about how I planned on leaving the blue cheese out of the macaroni and cheese recipe I had found.
David and I then proceeded to the checkout with a chunk of this wonderful blue cheese. My macaroni and cheese was going to have blue cheese in it after all. Thank you Wegmans Cheese Consultant Lady!
I made this adult macaroni and cheese for Meatless Monday last week. Here’s how I made it:
How To Make Adult Macaroni and Cheese
First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
The best way to get the noodles perfect is to cook two to three minutes less than what the box instructions say. The carryover heat will finish the pasta perfectly. You can use whatever type of pasta you like. I chose Penne Rigate because the noodles hold so much cheese. The cheese can fill the inner tube and it also can ride into your mouth on the other ridges of the noodle.
Heat the milk in a saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt butter in a large pot; whisk in the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. This will cook the rawness out of the flour.
While whisking, slowly pour in the milk. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes more. The sauce will become thick and bubbly. Don’t stop stirring! When the sauce has thickened, turn off the heat, add in the cheeses.
Season with fresh cracked black pepper, nutmeg and a dash of cayenne pepper, to taste. Stir well and taste.
At this point, if you feel it needs salt, add some, but usually, the cheeses are very salty and no additional salt is needed.
Combine the sauce with the cooked pasta, and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour the pasta mixture into a 3-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the bread crumbs are golden; about 35 to 40 minutes.
Chop basil and sprinkle on top of the macaroni and cheese for serving.
This mac and cheese was the best I have ever had. The combination of cheeses and basil was amazing! I hope you will give the recipe a go.
If you are a cheese lover, you are going to love it too!
Adult Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 pound Penne Rigate
- 4 cups whole milk
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 12 ounces Gruyère cheese grated (Emmi)
- 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese grated (Cabot)
- 6 ounces blue cheese crumbled (St. Agur)
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated
- dash cayenne pepper to taste
- fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 ½ cups bread crumbs
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves chopped
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente.
- Heat the milk in a saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt butter in a large pot; whisk in the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk.
- While whisking, slowly pour in the milk. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes more. The sauce will become thick and bubbly. (Don’t stop stirring!)
- When the sauce has thickened, turn off the heat, add in the cheeses. Season with fresh ground black pepper, nutmeg and a dash of cayenne pepper. Stir well and taste. Season with additional spices if desired. Add salt only if needed.
- Combine the sauce with the cooked pasta, and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake until the sauce is bubbly and the breadcrumbs are golden; about 35 to 40 minutes.
- Allow the mac and cheese to cool slightly. Serve sprinkled with chopped fresh basil.