Macaroni and Cheese

from Deborah Madison's The Savory Way

This is an old-fashioned macaroni and cheese, or pasta e quattro formaggi from Deborah Madison's The Savory Way, which is now out of print. It makes 8 generous servings, and fits into a 3 quart Pyrex baking dish.

The dish can either be baked right away or held and baked hours later.

The Sauce

3 cups milk (I use whole milk)

1/2 small onion, sliced

1 bay leaf

4 parsley sprigs

10 peppercorns

2 branches thyme

few gratings of nutmeg

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour


freshly ground pepper

Slowly bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan with the onion, bay leaf, parsley, peppercorns, thyme and nutmeg. Do not let it boil over! Strain. Melt the butter and whisk it and the flour together in a separate bowl, and then whisk it into the hot milk. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

The Pasta and Cheeses


1 pound macaroni or ziti in short or long pieces (I use pipe rigate)

2.5 cups fresh bread crumbs (I make these with a few slices of white sandwich bread in a food processor)

.25 cup melted butter

6 ounces (2 cups, 170 grams) Gruyere, Fontina or Swiss cheese, grated (I use cave-aged Gruyere)

2 ounces (2/3 cups, 57 g) smoked cheese such as Swiss, Gouda or mozzarella, grated

0.5 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced

freshly ground pepper

Bring a pot of water to boil, add salt, then add the pasta. Cook until slightly underdone, since it is going to cook again. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking, set the pasta aside.

Toss the bread crumbs with the melted butter. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter a large gratin or baking dish. Toss the pasta with the first 2 cheeses and the white sauce. Put a third of it into the dish, make a layer of sliced mozzarella, season with pepper to taste, and repeat with the rest of the pasta and cheese.

Cover the dish with a blanket of the buttered bread crumbs and bake until the crumbs have browned and the dish is hot, about 30 minutes. If you are going to bake the macaroni later, set aside the bread crumbs until you put the dish in the oven. If the dish goes directly from the refrigerator to the oven, it will take about 45 minutes to heat.

If you're serving the mac and cheese as a main dish, serve it with something fresh, simple, and little tart, such as a tomato and onion salad or a salad of endive or crisp romaine lettuce with fresh herbs and a lemon vinaigrette.

More by this Author

  • Floating The Yakima River

    The Yakima River is a popular river to float in the summer in eastern Washington. This Hub gives useful information about the float like where to stay, where to put in, and how to float the river safely.

Comments 1 comment

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Sounds like a winner!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article