Another way to add a little more dimension to this baked pasta dish is sautéeing a chopped onion before beginning the creamy sauce - be sure to finely chop the onion, though, so the pieces kind of disappear into the mix. Once the flour and milk were added and began to thicken, the cheeses were stirred in to melt - we used a combination of piquant Gorgonzola cheese and decidedly sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano. Gorgonzola can be fairly strong, depending on where you get yours, so if you find it too pungent for your tastes, just use your favorite melting cheese - Gruyère would be a good choice.
While the sauce is tossed with classic elbow macaroni, we wanted to add a bit more nutrition, so we used a multi-grain pasta (we have found we like Barilla Plus the best). I'm sure you're counting and you've noticed we have only used two cheeses, right? The third, shredded mozzarella, is actually layered inside! We spread half of the dressed pasta into the baking dish, scattered the cheese on and then spread the remaining pasta on top. To add a crunchy contrast to the creamy inside, the top is smothered with crisp panko breadcrumbs that we tossed with additional Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese right before baking.
While serving this home-style right out of the baking dish was easy (and what we opted for!), if you wanted to make it a bit special, you could assemble the recipe in the same manner, but portion them out into individual 1-cup ramekins (you'll need about 6) and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes instead. We loved the depth this macaroni and cheese had compared to other versions - the garlic and bay leaf that was infused into the sauce came through; however, it also didn't distract from the cheesy punch. The Gorgonzola was definitely present - it actually didn't come through as strong as I thought it might though - just enough so Jeff knew it was there, but not so much that it overwhelmed him (he usually isn't a fan).
Three-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese