The recipes in this article call for different types of pasta, cheese, toppings, and bakeware, but they all use the same simple method for making mac and cheese. Each recipe has three cheeses, but cream cheese is the must-have for the sauce. This cheese appears in all variations, while the other two cheeses with which it is associated can vary.

The first recipe is topped with seasoned breadcrumbs that will brown in the oven, while the cheese slices just below the breadcrumbs will ooze and melt. In the second recipe, the macaroni are baked in molds and the top is left uncovered; this version is ideal for those who like crunchy noodles. The last recipe features a beautiful brown crust that is the result of sprinkling additional cheese on top.

Variation one: Italian

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni

  • 3 tablespoons of butter

  • 8 ounces cream cheese

  • 2 1/2 cups milk

  • 1 1/2 cups parmesan grated or crumbled

  • 1 1/2 cups provolone, grated or crumbled

  • extra slices provolone

  • Italian breadcrumbs

  • salt, pepper, and other seasonings of your choice

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Cook the macaroni according to the directions on the package. Drain and reserve.

  3. Heat the butter, cream cheese, and milk in a saucepan, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes or until the butter and cheese have melted.

  4. Add the hot pasta, Parmesan, and grated provolone to the pot and season to taste. Mix to combine.

  5. Pour the macaroni mixture into a saucepan. Top with enough provolone slices and Italian breadcrumbs to cover, then bake for 30 minutes.

Variation two: crispy

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound rotini or other spiral-shaped pasta

  • 3 tablespoons of butter

  • 8 ounces cream cheese

  • 2 1/2 cups milk

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded or shredded cheddar cheese

  • 1 1/2 cups grated or grated gouda

  • salt, pepper, and other seasonings of your choice

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and reserve.

  3. Heat butter, cream cheese, and milk in saucepan until butter and cream cheese have melted, stirring occasionally to incorporate.

  4. Toss the cooked macaroni with the cheddar and gouda cheeses. Add the cream cheese sauce and seasonings, and toss to combine.

  5. Divide the macaroni into individual ramekins. Put the molds in the oven and bake for about half an hour.

Variation three: sharp

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni

  • 3 tablespoons of butter

  • 8 ounces cream cheese

  • 2 1/2 cups milk

  • 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated or crumbled

  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded or crumbled

  • extra parmesan or other cheese for topping

  • salt, pepper, and other seasonings of your choice

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Cook the macaroni according to the directions on the package. Drain and reserve.

  3. Heat the butter, cream cheese, and milk until the butter and cheese have melted, stirring occasionally to incorporate. Season as desired. Add the cooked macaroni, 1 1/2 cups of the cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups of the Parmesan. Mix to combine.

  4. Pour the mixture into a saucepan. Sprinkle extra cheese on top. Bake for about half an hour.

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