“Over the top” Mac & Cheese

Estia's “Over the top” Mac & Cheese

This is a dish that I started using as a big starch filler for our annual Christmas party last year. The key ingredient was love as I had my 3 daughters by my side, each of them stuffing penne into rigatoni, singing Christmas songs and making it all so easy.

Today as I stood alone in the kitchen I was missing the girls—and their hands, their smiles & their cooking enthusiasm. Then our pals Stew, Tina and Amy walked in and took over the pasta stuffing. I made the béchamel, added the cheese, and in 15 minutes there were 3 casseroles going into the fridge, ready to be baked and served at tonight’s harvest dinner.

Recipe serves over 20 people


  • 2 boxes Penne (DeCecco, Penne lisce #10)
  • 2 boxes Rigatoni ( DeCecco, Mezzi rigatoni #26)
  • 16 oz Swiss cheese, grated
  • 24 oz Gruyer cheese, grated
  • 16 oz Mozzarella, grated
  • 3 cups, salted butter
  • 1 cup A.P. flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons salt

Estia's “Over the top” Mac & Cheese

Bring a big pot of water to a boil, then add the salt.
Place a strainer in the pot and add the penne, boil on high for 5 min.
Remove the pasta, place in a bowl and add ½ cup of butter, stir.
Do the same thing with rigatoni, be sure the water is at a rolling boil.

As the pasta cools, prepare béchamel:

1 cup butter in a saucepan, stir in flour until it’s starting to brown, keep stirring.
Now add the milk, stir. Add the buttermilk, stir some more, then add the cream and use a whisk, finally add the nutmeg. Remove from heat and set the sauce aside.

Estia's “Over the top” Mac & Cheese

Set two 8 x 10 casseroles on the table and fill with rigatoni stuffed with penne, see photos. Once that’s done, add the leftover pasta to another baking dish (for back up, you never know who’s going to stop by).

Estia's “Over the top” Mac & Cheese

Now, add the grated Swiss and Gruyer to the béchamel and stir over low heat until smooth, pour over each of 3 baking dishes, place in fridge and wait for the guests.

Estia's “Over the top” Mac & Cheese

Estia's “Over the top” Mac & Cheese

For service:

pre-heat oven to 375°F. Place the Mac & Cheese in the oven for 15 minutes, then top with mozzarella and finish for another 15 min. or until the cheese browns.

Estia's “Over the top” Mac & Cheese

1 comment

  1. Bob Tipping says:

    Hi Colin, John Stevenson and I had a great lunch at the little kitchen on the way to Sarah Lee Stanton’s memorial service. Reminded me how good good food is! See you sometime, Bob

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