posh mac ‘n’ cheese

September 22, 2009

Happy autumn everyone! It’s official…I can pretend no longer. I actually love autumn but winter here terrifies me so any change in the temperature towards the single digits is scary.

I am determined to embrace this season and all the wonders it brings though! Watch out in the near future for homemade soups, baking extravaganzas, news of me curled up with a cuppa tea and a book/good film on the sofa, apple pies, root vegetable parties, and all-round comfort food.

Which takes us seamlessly onto the topic of today’s post and recipe: posh mac and cheese. Since I did not grow up in this country, a lot of what I consider “classic” or traditional American food comes from my husband, who happened to grow up eating mac and cheese by the truckload. It reminds him of his pa (as does oatmeal) since that’s what was for dinner on more than a rare occurrence. True story: I have never made mac and cheese from scratch. Exciting!

The only thing that makes this remotely ‘posh’ is the kind of cheese I used (really delicious sharp and aged Vermont cheddar) and maybe the panko. Apart from that, it is really just good homemade mac ‘n’ cheese.

Mac and cheese is not something we “do” in England but we do make a plethora of other Italian-inspired, comforting pasta bakes and the like and they always remind me of autumn when I start to crave piping hot cheesy carbs over fresh crunchy salads. Mmmm.

This recipe was gleaned from the vaults of Lottie + Doof, an amazing food blog that constantly inspires and mesmerizes me.

Be warned: this is by no means a healthy recipe! It is delicious beyond belief, buttery, cheesy, comforting, creamy, and rich but is meant to be enjoyed as part of a larger healthy diet. You will see that there is a phenomenal amount of cheese involved as well as generous helpings of butter, but it really is the only mac and cheese recipe you will ever want to use.



  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 cup of finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or less if you would like this with less spice)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk (I used skim)
  • 3 cups coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 4 ounces Mascarpone or cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup panko (Japanese Breadcrumbs – actually easy to find in our local coop so just ask someone to help you find it. It wasn’t expensive either. )
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 pound Penne (I used whole wheat…every little helps!)


Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon to paper towels to drain. Remove all but about 3 tablespoons of fat from the pan. Add onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and garlic, stir for 1 minute. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter, allow to melt, and then add the flour and stir for a minute. Gradually whisk in 3 cups of milk; simmer until thick enough to coat a spoon, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 2 1/4 cups of cheddar and all of the Parmesan cheese and marscapone. Return bacon to sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add panko and stir until light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in parsley.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Lighly butter a 13×9×2 inch glass baking dish or similarly sized gratin dish. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water until very al dente. Drain well. Toss pasta and cheese sauce and season again with salt and pepper, if needed. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish and top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake until hot and topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.


What is your ultimate autumnal comfort food?
Mine is lasagna or spaghetti bolognaise – any tomato-y and cheesy pasta!

Email this to someonePin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on RedditShare on StumbleUpon

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Leianna September 22, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Chili for sure, love the warmness of it and my Dad makes it with spiderbread! Looking forward to it when I get back to Minneapolis!


Janetha September 22, 2009 at 9:46 pm

holy moly girl, i am comforted just LOOKING at that amazeballsness.. i can't imagine eating it. dan is one lucky man! come bake for me and make me soups and this dolled up mac! i love that you used penne noodles and super aged cheddar. yum yummmmmmm. my fave fall foods? pumpkin anything! and soup paired with toast and melty PB on top. lots of love to you my dear! oh and hey, i saw that training thing to the side.. um did you run 2 miles in 10 min?!?


Janetha September 22, 2009 at 9:47 pm

nevermind. i am handicapped.


Holly September 22, 2009 at 9:52 pm

holy moly…this is better than cheese curds. i do NOT like out of the box mac n' cheese at all, but the homemade stuff is simply amazing. dan must be LOVING all this cooking you are doing…drool, drool, and drool. why o' why must i live one state over. which reminds me, my only gripe is you used vermont cheese instead of wisconsin :)

i miss you…i hope work is treating you well, life is treating you well and running is treating you well. a week and a half…eeeekkkk, can you believe it? how is your leg doing?

let's chat soon please. love you!

p.s. thanks for introducing me to lottie and doof – LOVING IT!


Coco September 22, 2009 at 10:15 pm

yummy looking gourmet mac! I am such a sucker for the plain old kind, but that does look very delish. My favorite comfy autumnal foods are def good chili, baked potatoes stuffed with broccoli and cheddar cheese, anything ooey and gooey and yummy, and I def agree with you about anything tomatoy and cheesy.


BroccoliHut September 22, 2009 at 10:28 pm

This looks so delicious! The best part of the mac and cheese is the crusty part, so that panko sounds wonderful!


Sarah @ The Foodie Diaries September 22, 2009 at 10:51 pm

I absolutely LOVE playing with mac & cheese recipes! Yours looks incredible! Mac & cheese is definitely autumn/every season comfort food. Love it with hot sauce! Not so posh, but delish!


burpandslurp September 22, 2009 at 11:55 pm

oh wow. WOw. WOW!!!! My eyes are absolutely goggling at the looks of that mac and cheese!
Fave autumnal comfort food = kabocha oats!


Nicole September 23, 2009 at 12:33 am

Cheesy and buttery– just how I love my mac 'n cheese!

My favorite fall comfort food, hands down, is grilled cheese and soup as made by my parents (as I am apparently incompetent at simultaneously grilling bread and melting cheese). It's always super buttery and not healthy, but tastes oh-so-good! Not to mention it's super simple.


mayapamela525 September 23, 2009 at 12:35 am

My mom makes a wonderful homemade mac and cheese–definitely reminds me of home. Another comfort food is a really warming veggie filled stew.



nourishing mornings September 23, 2009 at 1:34 am

love your mac and cheese looks so delicious!
my ultimate autumn comfort food hmmm i love autumn so much, and i love all squashes and roasted root vegetables in the fall.

lots of love xo


Kirsten September 23, 2009 at 5:04 am

I love mac and cheese! This is embarrassing but when I lived in Dublin my mom used to mail me over Kraft Mac and Cheese! Luckily I've graduated to Annie's now :)


Susan September 23, 2009 at 6:25 am

I'm not a huge pasta person, but I do love me some mac n' cheese! Anything smothered in cheese is delicious :)

My favourite fall comfort food is chili! Thanksgiving in Canada is at the beginning of October, so I also think of big turkey dinners and pumpkin pie come autumn as well :)


healthyfitmama September 23, 2009 at 6:50 am

My favorite fall comfort food is my dad's beef stew. I don't really like red meat, but I can't resist my dad's beef stew!!


Kristin @ Iowa Girl Eats September 23, 2009 at 7:59 am

OMG HOLY CHEESE!!! Posh indeed – this looks scrumptious!

Fave comfort food is any kind of hut, bubbly soup. Yum :)

Thanks for sharing this recipe!


Karena September 23, 2009 at 8:49 am

WOAH. That first picture is AMAZING. I need that right now!! haha. I've made mac n cheese from scratch before but never thought to use bacon…mmmm.:)

I've been known to make/crave chicken tortilla soup during the fall months. There's just something so comforting about it. I'm also a big fan of stews, but can't seem to get a good recipe going!


Food Makes Fun Fuel September 23, 2009 at 9:41 am

Wow, way to step up Mac And Cheese! I admit, I love trader joe's instant mac n' cheese with whole wheat pasta. It's healthy and perfectly portioned and requires no work–perfect for me haha. Add some shredded salmon and it's a meal


runnerskitchen September 23, 2009 at 11:03 am

oh.my.god. lady, you do not understand how much i LOVE mac 'n cheese. this recipe looks, ooey, gooey, and amazing.

happy autumn!


Courtney September 23, 2009 at 1:31 pm



brandi September 23, 2009 at 1:33 pm

that mac'n'cheese looks awesome. a perfect fall comfort meal :)


Low September 23, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Mac and cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods year round. Reminds me of my Grandma. That looks SOOOOOOOOO good!


ohonemorething September 23, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Posh mac-n-cheese indeed!!!

Ultimate autumnal comfort food? OATMEAL!!! I'm such a baby that hasn't had their teeth grow in yet lol.


joyofood September 23, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Love the mac n cheese. I love Winter, it's my favourite season. I know you all think I'm mad ;-)



Jenny September 23, 2009 at 3:53 pm

and I thought Annie's Mac and cheese was good.. dangggg mustang, this is beyond words!

yahoo to fall for being so perfect :) xo


Brooke September 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm

You are an artiste and a chef! Homemade mac n cheese is TDF (to die for)!! My fav winter/fall food would have to be Thanksgiving food!!! Stuffing, sweet potatoes, yams, brussels sprouts, pumpkin pie! MY LIFE!


Alison September 23, 2009 at 4:35 pm

I've made homemade mac and cheese a bunch of times and it really is Da BOMB! Yours looks SO pretty and scrumptious it's making my stomach growl!

I love the change of food that come with the change of the season. I love them all!


christina- MINDFUL LIVING September 23, 2009 at 4:58 pm

i love fall! so so happy it is officially here…although the weather where I am still feels like summer! the mac and cheese looks delish! especially with the panko bread crumbs. so what if it isnt healthy…sometimes you just need a downhome comforting recipe. anyway…my favorite autumnal comfort food (is that a word, angharad?) wait yes, that is a word! i just looked it up haha of, characteristic of, or occurring in the summer. haha. anyway i dunno what mine is!! you can never go wrong some cheese. maybe grilled cheese and tomato soup? or the recipe i have on my site (i got it from jenna eat live run)- roasted veggie and lentil soup- that has fall written all over it


Thinspired September 24, 2009 at 8:36 am

Holy cow. I knew when I saw the title of this post I would fall in love. This looks AMAZING. I have never made mac and cheese either, but, like your hubby, I grew up on it. I actually paid $8/box to have some Kraft sent to Endland when I was sick. True story!
BACON?! I am making this. Soon.


traveleatlove September 24, 2009 at 11:09 am

My fave comfort foods often involve pasta or potatoes and cheese! This recipe is amazing.


Jen (Running With Cake) September 24, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Oh wow – this is the mother (or should I say Madonna) of all mac and cheese recipes! I'm sure it's low cal too, right? :-)


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: