Creamy Mac & Cheese with Crispy Parmesan Topping

We’re kicking off November and our holiday recipe series with this family favorite! It’s always a hit and perfect for entertaining! It’s creamy, cheesy, and nothing beats that crispy parm topping! It’s definitely making it onto our Thanksgiving menu and I hope your family loves it too! Here’s a video on exactly how I make this Mac & Cheese.

What You'll Need:

+ 1 pack cavatappi (1 lb.)

+ 1/2 cup butter

+ 1/2 cup flour

+ 4 cups milk

+ 1/2 cup cream cheese

+ 2 1/2 cups cheddar (divided: 2 for sauce, 1/2 to top)

+ 1 cup gruyere

+ 1 cup fontina

+ Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

+ Pinch crushed red pepper or cayenne

+ Freshly cracked black pepper (I used about 1 tsp. plus more to top)

+ Salt (generously season)

Breadcrumb topping:

+ 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

+ 1/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

+ 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic

+ Salt & pepper to taste

+ 2 tbsp. butter, melted


1. Preheat oven to 350 and cook pasta in heavily salted water until al dente.

2. In a large dutch oven melt butter until slightly browned over medium heat. Add flour and stir constantly for 1-2 min.

3. Add milk and stir until it begins to thicken.

4. Lower heat and add cream cheese, grated cheese, and seasonings. Remove from heat and stir until well combined (taste and adjust seasoning).

5. Add pasta and transfer mixture into a baking dish (I used 11.5”x7.5”). Top with additional 1/2 cup cheddar and breadcrumb topping.

6. Bake for approx 30 min and broil on low for 1-2 min to get the top layer golden and crispy – watch closely not to burn. Enjoy!


* Grate your own cheese for this! It makes ALL the difference in texture and flavor.

* Make sure ingredients are room temp for optimal creaminess.

* Make sure you generously season – it’s a large quantity. Taste along the way and adjust to your liking.

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