Wisconsin Style

Ultimate Creamy Baked Wisconsin Macaroni and Cheese

Made with five Wisconsin cheeses, this is the decadent macaroni you’ve been craving. Bake this in one large casserole, or divide it between two, and share it with someone you love, or someone you want to love you.  

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Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • 4 thick slices slightly stale white bread
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 4 cups (1 pound) penne pasta, uncooked
  •   kosher salt to taste
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  •   Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin fontina cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin muenster cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin colby cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) Wisconsin asiago cheese, grated

Directions

Heat oven to 375°F. Butter 3 to 4-quart casserole or baking dish, or two 2-quart baking dishes.

Tear bread into pieces; pulse in food processor to form coarse crumbs. Place in bowl.

Melt butter in large pot. Remove 3 tablespoons of butter and mix with breadcrumbs. Set aside. Set aside pot with remaining melted butter.

Bring another large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook according to package directions, removing from heat before it is completely al dente. Before draining, remove 1/2 cup of cooking water; set aside.

Meanwhile, add flour to pot with remaining 5 tablespoons melted butter. Whisk occasionally 3 minutes until flour starts to color. Gradually whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to simmer, whisking frequently. Reduce to medium-low; simmer about 4 minutes, until the mixture begins to thicken. Whisk in cream, Dijon mustard, cayenne and black pepper. Add cheeses by the handful, whisking frequently, until cheeses melt and sauce is smooth and creamy. Whisk in reserved cooking water; add salt if needed.

Add drained pasta to sauce, stirring until everything is well coated. (There will be quite a lot of sauce, but some of it will be absorbed by the pasta as it bakes.) Pour pasta mixture into prepared baking dish(es) and top with buttered breadcrumbs.

Bake 30 minutes or until top is browned and sauce is bubbling around edges. Remove; let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Tip: If your bread isn’t stale, you can toast it in a 300°F oven for 4 or 5 minutes until it dries out a bit. Let cool completely, then process in food processor.

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Semi-soft and semi-hard cheese, like Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Mozzarella, should be very cold for easy grating.