Three Cheese Mac and Cheese

posted in: Main Dish, Pasta, Side Dish, Vegetarian        date:

Three Cheese Mac & Cheese

My name is Courtney, and I’m addicted to mac and cheese.  Okay, that might be an overstatement, but I honestly can’t resist a good macaroni and cheese recipe.  If it looks remotely like something I’ll like, I’ll try it.  I just can’t help myself.  However, after trying this recipe, I don’t know that I’ll ever try another one.  It was just that good.  Plus, I love the fact that it’s made in a cast-iron skillet.  It just makes this dish have a good, down home kind of feel.  My grandmother makes biscuits in a cast-iron skillet, and Eric’s mom makes her cornbread in one (with bacon grease, because that’s just how we roll in the south).

I’ve posted a couple other macaroni and cheese recipes.  The most recent one, with roasted garlic and white truffle oil, was a delicious and modern recipe.  The first one was an easy and adaptable recipe that was tasty, but lacked the oomph of the other two recipes.  This recipe stands on its own.  With white cheddar, parmesan and goat cheese, how could it not?  Sour cream and an egg yolk make this dish especially rich, while lemon zest (yes, you read that right) gives it a wonderful brightness I’ve never tasted in macaroni and cheese.  The addition of fresh thyme, my favorite herb, gives the mac and cheese a wonderful aroma and flavor.  The sweet onion is a welcome addition and adds texture to the pasta.  Decadent is the best way to describe this dish, and I promise you will savor every bite of it.  If you only ever make one recipe from my blog, I hope it’s this one.  I know that’s a serious request, but this is easily one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

This dish pairs well with a crisp white wine and just about any type of beer. Yum.

Three Cheese Mac & Cheese

  • YIELD: 4 main dish servings
  • ¾ pound penne

  • 1½ cups heavy cream or half-and-half

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

  • 5 ounces goat cheese

  • 3 ounces sharp white cheddar, shredded

  • ½ cup packed freshly grated parmesan

  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

  • ¾ teaspoon lemon zest

  • 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 extra large egg yolk

  • 1

    Heat oven to 400º. Butter a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente. Drain and return to pot.

  • 2

    Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring heavy cream, onion and garlic to a simmer. Transfer ½ cup of the cream to a medium bowl and gradually whisk in flour; return mixture to saucepan. Set the bowl aside and continue whisking over moderate heat until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the goat cheese, cheddar and half of the Parmesan until melted. Stir in the sour cream, zest and 1 teaspoon of thyme and season with salt and pepper.

  • 3

    Place the egg yolk in the medium bowl and gradually whisk in ½ cup cheese sauce. Gradually whisk the egg mixture into the saucepan. Pour cheese sauce over pasta and toss to coat evenly. Add pasta to cast-iron skillet and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

    Bake for about 25 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown. Sprinkle with remaining thyme. Allow mac and cheese to rest for about 5 minutes (if you can stand it), then serve.

SOURCE: Food and Wine, September 2010
COMMENTS: ( 33 )
  • The Langham’s

    That looks delicious!!!! I'll give this one a try sometime.

  • Shawnda

    MMMmmm. Goat cheese. Looks fantastic! And by the way – your blog has become one of my favorites.

  • Shanon Lacy

    I'm definitely a mac and cheese fan, too! This one looks like a winner…I think the combo of goat cheese and the white cheddar in this one might be one of the best ideas I have ever heard. Thank you for sharing…I'm bookmarking this one!

  • steph

    OMG – this looks amazing! I am going to have to try this. I think I gained 5 pounds just looking at it though.

  • ashley

    looks amazing!!

  • Stephanie

    That looks so comforting and rustic! Delicious!!

  • Courtney

    Thanks, everyone! This is definitely one of my favorite dishes. Too bad I can't make it every weeK!

  • Jessica

    I need to find myself a cast iron skillet. I've used them before, and they are so much better than non-stick. If treated properly, they are non-stick too.

  • Courtney

    Jessica, you're so right. Eric's mom actually gave us the one we have now, and I absolutely adore it.

  • oneordinaryday

    My name's Michelle and I'm addicted to macaroni and cheese too! This looks amazing!

  • HealthnutFoodie

    Hmm…you just convinced me to take the plunge and purchase a cast iron skillet. As for the mac and cheese, goat cheese rocks my world! As a healthnuut and a foodie, I will probably adjust the ingredients a bit, but if I suceed, I will definately give you a shout out! Amazing (and drooling)!

  • wifeplzak

    awesome pics! I love the first one.

  • Courtney

    HealthnutFoodie, I'd love to hear how it turns out! If I could figure out how to make this better for me, I would be making it more often.

    Thanks, wifeplzak! I'm usually not so good at photographing pasta dishes, but this one turned out pretty well.

  • Tiffany

    Hi Courtney, I am Tiffany. Do you think it is possible to "OD" on Three Cheese Mac & Cheese, cause I just might after I make this!

  • Omg I’m fatter now just from looking at this delicious picture.

  • I have been looking for a delicious mac and cheese recipe and came across yours last night on pinterest. Looks DEVINE! having friends over for dinner and can’t wait to make this! thanks for sharing 😉

  • Wow. There are no words. Because my love of all things, carb and cheese wasn’t already overflowing – this just shoved me over the edge. Gorgeous!!

  • Lenka

    It was Amazing, super easy …just right amount of pasta and tasty cheese. Fresh hebs and lemon zest just have the right kick:) enjoy!

  • suzanne

    Is it possible to make this cow milk free?

    • Courtney

      Suzanne, I’m not sure. You could always give it a try with three different, non-cow’s milk cheeses and see what happens. Good luck!

  • We made this yesterday for a large family gathering! Ran out! My husband didn’t even get any, we will be making this many more times. Thanks for sharing.
    Oh, it was extra special in my grandmothers skillet!

  • emily

    Might someone kindly suggest an alternative to the cast iron skillet? Would a regular baking dish work? I’d love to make this!

    • Courtney

      Emily, I think a regular baking dish would be just fine. 🙂

  • Kristin

    I made this tonight and it was pretty good, but not my favorite. The cheese flavor is very mild, and there wasn’t quite enough sauce for me. I would try making it again but maybe with two sharp cheeses and one mild cheese, and I would probably double the sauce.

    • Courtney

      Sorry to hear you didn’t like it, Kristin. It’s not very saucy and isn’t necessarily supposed to taste like traditional mac and cheese, but I hope you like it if you try it with your adaptations. It’s still one of my favorites!

      • Lorelei Lee87

        My honey loves things that have a little crunch.

  • So um… that roundup post of yours may be the most dangerous thing I’ve read all year for this recipe alone! 😡

  • So um… that roundup post of yours may be the most dangerous thing I’ve read all year for this recipe alone! 😡

  • Oh my. I want to eat this now! So glad I spotted it in your roundup post.

  • Oh my. I want to eat this now! So glad I spotted it in your roundup post.

  • Courtney Driver

    My name is Courtney and I’m a mac and cheese addict, too. This looks delish-can’t wait to try it! Thanks for sharing!

  • Courtney Driver

    My name is Courtney and I’m a mac and cheese addict, too. This looks delish-can’t wait to try it! Thanks for sharing!

  • Meghan

    I used dried thyme instead of fresh and it was a bit overpowering, but that was my own fault for not converting. I’ve been craving a tangy white Mac and cheese and this fit the bill perfectly. I used a Le Creuset and it still bubbled and browned beautifully. Thank you for the recipe!