Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
For the pasta:
- 16 ounces about 4 cups elbow macaroni or your preferred pasta shape
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter for greasing the baking dish
For the cheese sauce:
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika optional, for added flavor
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup Gruyère cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup Fontina cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
For the topping:
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with 2 tablespoons of butter.
Cook the Pasta:
In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add the salt and pasta. Cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Prepare the Cheese Sauce:
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter.
Stir in the flour to create a roux. Cook for 1-2 minutes until it turns a light golden color.
Gradually whisk in the milk and heavy cream to avoid lumps. Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens, about 5-7 minutes.
Add salt, black pepper, and paprika. Stir to combine.
Reduce heat to low and add the shredded cheddar, Gruyère, Fontina, and Parmesan cheeses. Stir until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is smooth.
Combine the Pasta and Cheese Sauce:
Add the cooked and drained pasta to the cheese sauce. Stir to coat the pasta evenly with the cheese sauce.
Prepare the Topping:
In a small bowl, combine the Panko breadcrumbs, melted butter, and grated Parmesan cheese.
Assemble and Bake:
Transfer the cheesy pasta mixture into the greased baking dish.
Sprinkle the breadcrumb topping evenly over the mac and cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.