There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of mac and cheese recipes out there: three cheese, four cheese, and on and on. This savory mac and cheese recipe is a bit different. First, it’s both savory and cheesy, second it’s sized for just one person. No leftovers.
I got the idea for this recipe from a friend who made it with sun dried tomatoes. I tried it that way, but wasn’t mad about the combination. However, the idea to add bay leaf and garlic is inspired. I know it sounds odd, but the garlic becomes mellow once you cook it, and the bay leaf complements the cheese.
I’ve used three cheeses: cheddar, mozzarella, and manchego. My friend used cheddar and parmesan. You can follow my version, or his, or make up your own. Provolone would work too. I even recently had mac and cheese that had muenster in it, which worked surprisingly well.
One thing though, he used low fat milk, which I would never do. You can, if you want to.
Savory Three Cheese Mac and Cheese
Savory mac and cheese with three cheeses, bay leaf, and garlic.
Note: I left the bay leaf on top for contrast and color in the image. Don't eat it!
- 1/2 C dry short pasta (macaroni, fusilli, or shells are fine)
- 2 tsp butter
- 1 tsp flour
- 1 clove garlic, mashed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 C milk
- 1/3 C cheese (mixture of shredded cheddar, edam, and manchego, or whatever cheeses you like)
- salt and pepper
- Boil the water for the pasta in a medium size saucepan.
- While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a small saucepan.
- Add the flour, stirring continuously until it thickens and you get a roux. It should look like a paste.
- Then add the garlic and the bay leaf.
- Slowly add the milk, and bring it to a slow boil, stirring until it thickens. It should now start to look more like a sauce.
- Add the shredded cheese and let the sauce simmer on a low flame until the cheese melts.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add the nutmeg and the thyme.
- Strain the pasta and pour into a dish. Add the cheese sauce and stir to combine it all together.
Savory Mac and Cheese Recipe Substitutions and Variations
- as suggested above, mix and match the cheese you use
- add the sun dried tomatoes when you mix the cheese and pasta together (just because I didn’t care for it, doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea)
- cook some bacon and crumble that on top
- include some caramelized onions
- top with prosciutto
Tools and Ingredients for Making Savory Mac and Cheese
Porcelain Square Quiche Dish
I just got this little dish and I’m really pleased with it. It’s oven, dishwasher, and microwave safe, and it fits in the toaster oven so I don’t have to heat up my big oven to make something small. It’s called a quiche dish, but it was great for mac and cheese, and I intend to use it for single serving apple crisp and brownies. It’s even pretty enough to serve in. The other nice thing is you can buy just one, rather than a set.
Porcelain Round Au Gratin Dish
This au gratin dish, from the same company, is also a good option. It has handles to make it easier to pick up and take out of the oven (which I wish I had thought of). It would also make a nice dish for serving scrambled eggs.
More Pasta Recipes
Pasta Alla Norma with Eggplant
Take advantage of fresh summer eggplant and make this easy pasta dish with a slightly spicy tomato sauce.
White Ragu Pappardelle Pasta for One
Not your usual ragu sauce, this one is made with cream (not a tomato in sight). Instead, you simmer onions, beef, carrots, and sausage, with porcini mushrooms and white wine. It’s divine!
Smoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce
A smooth, velvety pink sauce, with just a hint of cream. The salmon adds a smoky flavor that plays beautifully with the rich sauce.
Pasta with Tomato Artichoke Sauce Recipe
Also called pasta raphael, this pasta sauce is flavored with rich, sweet tomatoes, a bit of earthy oregano and summery basil. It’s got a bit of a kick from red pepper flakes and lots of freshly-ground black pepper. All straight out of your pantry (even the spices).