Made with a rich and creamy béchamel sauce, 3 types of cheese and topped with crispy breadcrumbs this truly is comfort food at its best.
1 pound macaroni
4 tbsp. butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup whipping cream (35%)
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 cups grated sharp cheddar
2 tbsp. bread crumbs
1 tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease baking dish with 1 tbsp. butter.
Bring large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt. Cook the macaroni until al dente.
Add 1 tbsp. butter to skillet over medium heat. When butter melts, add onion, garlic, celery, salt and pepper. Cook veggies until they begin to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside.
To make the béchamel sauce: Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir to combine to make a roux. Continue to cook and stir the roux, about 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk, making sure to incorporate the roux into the milk. Add cream. Continue to whisk mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking frequently, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
Remove béchamel sauce from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1/4 Pecorino Romano and 1 cup cheddar. Add veggies and drained pasta to sauce. Stir to combine. Transfer to baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano and 1/2 cup cheddar.
Combine bread crumbs, parsley, lemon zest and olive oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over cheese.
Bake mac and cheese until bubbling and golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings.