Over the Top Mac and Cheese

Yield:  8 Servings


1 ½ cups coarsely grated Gruyere cheese

1 ½ cups coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 ½ cups diced rindless Brie (cut from 1 lb wedge)

5 tablespoons butter, divided

¼ cup all purpose flour

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

¾ teaspoon nutmeg

4 cups whole milk

1 ¾ cups fresh breadcrumbs

1 lb penne pasta


Mix all cheese together.  Set aside 1 cup for topping; cover and chill.  Melt 4 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add flour and stir until mixture turns golden brown, about 4 minutes.  Add thyme and nutmeg.  Gradually whisk in milk.  Simmer until thickened and smooth, stirring often, about 4 minutes.  Add cheeses from bowl.  Stir until melted and smooth


Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add breadcrumbs and toss.  Stir until golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 

Cook pasta in boiling salted water until tender but firm to bite.  Drain and transfer to a large bowl.  Pour cheese mixture over and toss.  Divide among eight 1 ¼ cup custard cups.  Sprinkle with the reserved cheese.  Place cups on a rimmed baking sheet and cover with foil.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Uncover and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and continue baking for approximately another 20 minutes, until golden brown.


Source:  Kate and Matt Jennings – Bon Appetit – September 2007