Million Dollar Mac and Cheese
As creamy and indulgent as mac and cheese can get!
You might say I am a mac and cheese connoisseur. It is probably my favorite food, and while I’m generally partial to one particular variety (Martha Stewart’s Perfect Mac), I do like to try out other variations. Variety is the spice of life, after all! And this Million Dollar Mac and Cheese just might give my favorite a run for its money. Impossibly indulgent, it has extra layers of creaminess and cheesiness and a perfect crunchy topping. (All my favorite things.) It’s not the type of mac where the sauce disappears into the pasta once it’s baked; no, every scoop you take is a luscious, creamy spoonful.
There isn’t too much out of the ordinary here as far as ingredients go, the uniqueness is more in the method of layering (and maybe the abundance of cheese). There are three types of cheese — gruyere, sharp cheddar, and Monterey jack. I’ve always been a fan of gruyere and cheddar in mac and cheese, but Monterey jack is the perfect thing to round those two out because it adds a wonderful creaminess to the sauce. There’s macaroni, butter, milk, flour… the usual, but the other main thing to note is sour cream.
You’re going to start out as you would with any other mac. Boil that pasta, make a bechamel, fold the cheese in until it’s melted, stir the pasta into the sauce — easy. However, then, you’re going to put only half of the pasta mixture into your baking dish. Then, you’re going to top it with the sour cream and the rest of the grated cheese. The remaining pasta mixture goes on top, followed by some panko breadcrumbs.
But wait, there’s no cheese on top!!
I know. The cheese and the sour cream in the middle of the bake provides an unrivaled layer of creaminess and cheese pulls that comes up with every bite. And the lack of cheese on top actually gives the panko a better chance to crisp up and shine in all its crunchy glory. I promise, it works.
If you find sour cream a bit too tangy here you could opt to use mascarpone instead or even reduce the quantity down to a half cup. Either way, it’s an oh-so-creamy, cheesy version of mac and cheese that you’re going to love.
Million Dollar Mac and Cheese
15m prep time
25m cook time
- 8 oz elbow macaroni
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups sharp cheddar, grated
- 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, grated and divided
- 2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the topping:
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta one minute less than package directions indicate. Drain and set aside.
- While pasta cooks, melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour and continue cooking, whisking constantly, for 1 minute.
- Gradually whisk in milk. Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until thickened, about 4-5 more minutes.
- Remove from heat and add cheddar in handfuls, stirring in between. Add 1 cup of the Monterey Jack and stir until smooth and melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add macaroni to cheese sauce and stir to combine.
- Transfer half of the macaroni to a greased 2 qt baking dish.
- Top with the remaining grated Monterey Jack and the gruyere cheese. Dollop sour cream over the cheese. Top with remaining macaroni mixture.
- In a small bowl, stir together the panko, melted butter, parsley, and a little salt for the topping. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni.
- Bake until sauce is bubbly and top is lightly golden, about 25 minutes. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Buns In My Oven.