Macaroni and Four Cheeses


Perhaps the meal I've been most excited about all week is this one that I found on Erin's Food Files, which was adapted from Cooking Light.  I've made several mac & cheese recipes in the past, but this one had 4 cheeses...all with only 1 teaspoon of butter (I halved the recipe) which made my head spin!  Do I dare call this healthy?  Maybe just healthier?  OK, probably neither considering the amount of cheese, but I can pretend, right?  But either way, this was delicious--everything in moderation!!

1 pound Elbow Macaroni
1 Slice White or Wheat Bread (I used 1 ounce of panko bread crumbs instead of making my own)
2 1/2 cups Milk
2 Bay Leaves
1/4 cup Flour
1 cup (4 ounces) Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Swiss Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Gorgonzola Cheese, crumbled
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
Cooking Spray
2 teaspoons Fresh Minced Sage or 1/2 teaspoon Dried Rubbed Sage
2 teaspoons Butter, melted

Cook the pasta in boiling water for 5 minutes, or until almost tender.  Drain and rinse with cold water and place in a large bowl.  If making fresh bread crumbs-place the bread in a food processor and pulse 10 times, or until coarse crumbs form, then set aside.  In a small saucepan, bring milk and bay leaves to a simmer.  Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.  Discard the bay leaves.  Place the flour in a small bowl.  Gradually add the milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended.  Return milk mixture to the pan.  Cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Remove from the heat. Add the cheeses, salt, and pepper, stirring until the cheeses melt.  Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and stir well.  Spoon the mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Combine the breadcrumbs, sage, and butter in a bowl and toss with a fork.  Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the pasta mixture.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until thoroughly heated and golden brown on top. I also put it under the broiler for about 1 minute at the very end of the cooking time so that it would get nice and toasty!