This easy baked mac and cheese recipe with four cheeses counts among my favorite comfort foods of all time. Even now as an adult, if I see this gooey bit of pasta perfection on the menu at a restaurant, I'll order it. It usually requires some cajoling, because most restaurants serve baked macaroni and cheese on their kids' menu, but I have discovered that Hotel 43 in Boise serves up a mean cheese and pasta dish, and it's OK if you want to order it as a grown-up. They'll let you. Fabulous place.
About the Easy Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe
This homemade mac and cheese recipe calls for ziti noodles plus mozzarella, sharp cheddar, Fontina and Parmesan or Romano cheeses. It gets its crustiness from Japanese bread crumbs, known as panko. You'll divide up the spices and the butter in this dish so that you have enough to cook the baked macaroni and cheese recipe as well as season the bread crumbs.
Serve it as a side dish with meals. Or make a main meal out of it by adding a side salad.
- 6 Tbsp butter, unsalted
- 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 3 c. milk, whole
- 8-oz mozzarella, shredded
- 8-oz Fontina, shredded
- 8-oz cheddar, sharp, shredded
- 8-oz Parmesan or Romano, grated
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1tsp garlic powder
- 1 box of baked ziti
- 1 c. panko
- Get a 16-oz box of ziti and cook it according to the instructions on the box.
- Heat up the oven to 350 degrees once the ziti is done cooking.
- Treat your casserole baking dish with some cooking spray.
- In a large pot, add four tablespoons of butter and heat it up.
- Sprinkle the flour into the pot. Use a whisk to stir this mixture until it becomes thickened.
- Slowly add in the milk, whisking it constantly so that the mixture doesn't get lumps.
- Allow this mixture to cook for several minutes so that it can thicken. Keep stirring it while you cook it.
- Add in the four cheeses plus one teaspoon of salt, a half of pepper and a half of garlic powder. Stir the mixture well as you add the spices.
- Drop in the cooked ziti noodles. Mix this together until the noodles are covered with the cheeses.
- Pour the noodles into the baking dish.
- Heat up the remaining butter, spices and Japanese bread crumbs and then pour onto the noodles.
- Bake the macaroni and cheese until the crumbs become golden brown.
- White cheddar will give the dish less of an orange color.
- When the dish is about ready to come out of the oven, grind up some more Parmesan or Romano for extra cheesy flavor.