|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
Special is the right description for this macaroni and cheese, and it tastes as good as it looks. Besides the mixture of goat cheese, cheddar, and Parmesan cheese, fresh or dried herbs are added to the mixture.
It's a rich casserole but it can be made lighter by decreasing the amount of cheese. See the tips and variations for more ideas.
Serve this delicious dish as a side dish or serve it as a main dish with sliced tomatoes or a tossed salad.
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni (about 2 cups raw)
- 4 tablespoons butter (divided)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk, 2 percent is fine
- 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh chopped mixed herbs, or 2 teaspoons dried leaf herbs (thyme, sage, chives, etc.)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 ounces goat cheese with herbs or plain
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 cup soft bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
Grease a 2-quart baking dish.
Heat the oven to 350 F.
Cook macaroni in salted boiling water following package directions; drain, rinse, and set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly; continue cooking and stirring until slightly thickened. Add the herbs, salt, and pepper, then stir in the goat cheese and Cheddar. Stir in about 3 ounces of the Parmesan cheese; set the rest aside for the topping. Continue cooking and stirring the sauce until the cheeses have melted.
Add the drained macaroni to the sauce and spoon it into the prepared baking dish.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and toss with the breadcrumbs and the remaining Parmesan cheese. Mix until well blended and the crumbs are thoroughly coated with butter.
Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the casserole.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the casserole is browned and bubbling around the edges.
Tips and Variations
Add 1 clove of minced garlic to the saucepan with the melted butter and cook for about 2 minutes before adding the flour.
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of finely minced shallots to the saucepan with the melted butter and cook until tender. Add the flour, stir, and continue with the recipe.
Replace the goat cheese and herbs with a package of Boursin cheese with herbs.
Omit the Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Add 1 cup of diced ham to the cheese sauce before adding the cooked macaroni.