Gourmet Mac and Cheese. Need I Say More?

My husband grew up near Seattle and when we got engaged his dear aunt threw me a bridal shower. I got this awesome cookbook as a gift and one of the first dishes I learned to make after getting married is the mac and cheese from this book. It’s so good, lots of warm cheese, a crispy bread crumby top. Need I say more? But this mac and cheese is way more than your average cheddar and elbow noodle, from the spiral pasta, salty prosciutto and variety of cheeses, especially the distinct bite of the Gorgonzola, its easy to see why this is the best mac and cheese ever.

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for dish
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated fontina cheese
  • 3/4 cup Gorgonzola or other blue cheese
  • 3 ounces prosciutto, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 12 ounces gemelli or other spiral pasta
  • 1/2 bread crumbs, fresh or dried will do
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped, fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 375. Butter a 13×9 baking dish. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and saute until tender and aromatic, about 5 minutes. While the butter is still bubbling, add flour and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.

Slowly whisk in milk and continue cooking, stirring constantly until the mixture bubbles and turns thick, about 3-5 minutes. Take pan from heat and add 3/4 cup Parmesan, Gruyere, fontina, and Gorgonzola, whisking until cheese is melted into sauce. Stir in prosciutto, cayenne, salt and pepper, set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add pasta and cook for 5-7 minutes. Pasta should remain uncooked in center.  Stain, rinse with cool water to stop cooking and drain well. Stir pasta in with the cheese sauce and pour into prepared dish.

Stir together bread crumbs, parsley, and 1/4 cup Parmesan and sprinkle mixture over top of pasta.

Bake until pasta is heated through and browned on top, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.