Three Cheese Mac & Cheese
1 lb pasta (large elbow, large shell, or penne are probably the best shapes)
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
3/4 C milk (I used 2%)
1/2 C half & half
1 C shredded smoked gouda (1 Tbsp reserved)
1 C shredded sharp cheddar (1 Tbsp reserved)
1/2 C shredded Monterrey jack (1 Tbsp reserved)
1/3 C panko bread crumbs
2 Tbsp olive oil (or melted butter)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
In liberally salted water, cook pasta about 1 minute shy of being done. Drain, set aside.
Melt butter in a sauce pot. Add flour, stir so there are no lumps. Slowly whisk in milk and half & half, making sure no lumps form. Bring to a simmer, let cook about 3 minutes until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper.
Combine cheeses, pasta, and milk mixture. Pour into a greased 13x9 baking dish.
Combine panko crumbs, reserved cheeses and olive oil. Sprinkle over the pasta.
Bake covered at 350 deg F for 20 minutes. Uncover, bake another 15 minutes
Note: Using high quality cheese is a good idea here. I used Boar's Head smoked gouda and Vermont sharp cheddar. The Monterrey Jack is almost a filler to give it gooey meltiness without masking the flavors of the other cheese so store brand is fine. And if you add a little extra cheese, I'm sure no one will complain. I'm fairly certain my cups of cheese were heaping cups.