Carol’s Four Cheese Macaroni

 

  • 1 lb. of elbow macaroni, cooked
  • 5 cups of extra sharp white Vermont cheddar cheese finely shredded
  • 5 cups of finely shredded Baby Swiss cheese
  • ¾ cup of finely shredded Asiago Cheese
  • ¾ cup of finely shredded Monterey Jack/Colby cheese blend
  • 5 cups of fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 stick of butter, fresh from the fridge diced into small cubes.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 1.5 cups of milk (any), half and half, or heavy whipping cream. Your choice. (Though I prefer the heavy whipping cream as it’s much more decadent).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Spray a two quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Cook macaroni according to manufacturer’s directions. Drain into colander and spray with cooking spray, tossing to mix. (This helps to keep it from all sticking together while it’s hot).  Do NOT rinse the macaroni.
  3. Shred your cheeses and and then combine into a dish, tossing to mix thoroughly
  4. Use a good quality sandwich bread (your choice of type; I like a nice Asiago Cheese bread or a sliced loaf of Portuguese break). Gently tear 3-4 pieces into small pieces.  Place into blender one at a time and pulse on high until fine crumbs form. When all bread is made into crumbs, pour it from the blender into a 2 cup measuring cup.  If you have a little more, or a little less, it’s no big deal.
  5. Once all your ingredients are assembled, now comes the fun part. Follow these steps:
  • Take a generous handful of the cheese mixture and layer it on the bottom of the pan.
  • Spoon hot macaroni over the cheese until you have a layer covering all the cheese.
  • Sprinkle with another handful of cheese.
  • Dot with the minced butter.
  • Sprinkle on salt and pepper.
  • Follow these steps until you have filled the casserole dish to the top. Don’t be afraid to push it down in order to add more macaroni or cheese.
  • You should end with a layer of macaroni on top. Pepper and salt generously.
  • Make small spaces in the layers with the handle of a wooden spoon or even your fingers.
  • SLOWLY pour in the milk, half and half, or heavy whipping cream until you can see it peeking up from underneath the bottom of the top layer.
  • Sprinkle bread crumbs in a thick even layer over the top. Sprinkle with salt and plenty of pepper.
  • If you have any butter left (and you should), melt it in the microwave for a few seconds, and slowly pour it over the top of the bread crumbs.

Place the casserole dish onto an edged cookie sheet (in case there’s overflow).  Bake in the oven for 1.5 to 1.75 hours or until the liquid has mostly evaporated and the top crust is a golden brown. (You can begin checking for doneness as early as 45 minutes into the process, but I find it’s closer to 1.5 hours).  I like to push a small section away from the tines of a fork to check the liquid levels and insure the casserole is heated thoroughly all the way through.

Remove the casserole from the oven, and THIS IS IMPORTANT, let it sit undisturbed for about 10-15 minutes.  This allows the casserole to settle which makes it easier to serve.  Now don’t forget to turn off the oven, then serve up a generous portion of the mac n cheese alongside your favorite meatloaf, baked ham, or fried chicken.  Add in a nice green veggie, and you’ve got a dinner that’ll score big with just about any cheese lover you know!