Variations on Menage a Trois Mac and Cheese

The recipes in this article call for different types of pasta, cheese, toppings, and bakeware, but they all use the same simple method of making mac and cheese. Each recipe has three cheeses, but cream cheese is the one that is essential for the sauce. This cheese appears in all the variations, while the other two cheeses that it partners with may vary.

The first recipe is topped with seasoned breadcrumbs that will brown in the oven while the slices of cheese right beneath the breadcrumbs will ooze and melt. In the second recipe the macaroni is baked in ramekins and its top is left bare naked; this version is great for those who like crunchy noodles. The last recipe features a beautiful brown crust that is a result of sprinkling extra cheese over the top.

Variation One: Italian

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1 1/2 cups of Parmesan, grated or shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups of provolone, grated or shredded
  • extra slices of provolone
  • Italian breadcrumbs
  • salt, pepper, and other seasonings of your choice

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat butter, cream cheese, and milk in a pot, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes or until the butter and cheese have melted.
  4. Add the hot pasta, Parmesan, and grated provolone to the pot, and season as desired. Mix to combine.
  5. Pour the macaroni mixture into a casserole dish. Top with enough slices of provolone and Italian breadcrumbs to cover, then bake for 30 minutes.

Variation Two: Crunchy

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound rotini or other spiral-shaped pasta
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups grated or shredded cheddar
  • 1 1/2 cups grated or shredded gouda
  • salt, pepper, and other seasonings of your choice

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat butter, cream cheese, and milk in a saucepan until the butter and cream cheese have melted, stirring from time to time to incorporate.
  4. Toss the cooked macaroni with the cheddar and gouda cheeses. Add the cream cheese sauce and seasonings, and mix to combine.
  5. Divide the macaroni among individual ramekins. Put the ramekins into the oven, and bake for about half an hour.

Variation Three: Sharp

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups Parmesan, grated or shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar, grated or shredded
  • extra Parmesan or other cheese for topping
  • salt, pepper, and other seasonings of your choice

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat butter, cream cheese, and milk until butter and cheese have melted, stirring from time to time to incorporate. Season as desired. Add the cooked macaroni, 1 1/2 cups of cheddar, and 1 1/2 cups of Parmesan. Mix to combine.
  4. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish. Sprinkle extra cheese over the top. Bake for about half an hour.



Source by Jennifer K Chow