Triple-Play Macaroni And Six Cheese Strata
For serious turophiles only: This macaroni and cheese recipe calls for six—that’s right, six—different kinds of cheese.




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March 2009

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Pasta

Gourmet Macaroni And Cheese Recipes

Recipe 4: Triple-Play Macaroni & Six Cheese Strata Recipe


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Triple-Play Macaroni & Six Cheese Strata

First runner-up Kathi Jones Del-Monte from Rochester, New York, wowed the judges’ taste buds with her Triple-Play Macaroni & Six Cheese Strata, taking home $2,000 cash and 15 pounds of Tillamook cheese.

Yields 8 servings.


  • 1 pound wide elbow macaroni, or any other tubular pasta or medium shell
    semolina pasta
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 medium sweet onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 large shallot, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 2 cups shredded vintage white extra sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup sliced fresh green onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 10 ounces coarsely chopped fresh spinach, cooked and excess liquid squeezed out
  • 1/3 cup chopped cooked applewood-smoked bacon
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded colby cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded medium Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup diced fresh red onion
  • 1/4 cup extra-moist-style thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper

Crispy Double-Cheese Topping Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup crushed cheese crackers
  • 1/2 cup shredded extra sharp Cheddar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. In a large saucepan, boil pasta according to package directions until al dente, drain and set aside.
  3. Spray a large deep oval ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  4. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add onion and shallot and sauté for 30–40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion and shallot are soft and very caramelized. The mixture should cook down to 1/2 cup. Remove onion mixture from pan and set aside.
  5. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a large, heavy sauce pan. Add flour and whisk for 2-3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Stir in the salt and mascarpone cheese until smooth. Keep warm.
  6. Remove one third of the sauce to a large bowl and stir in the white cheddar cheese, green onion, garlic, thyme, spinach, bacon, pepper and one third of the cooked pasta. Spread spinach mixture evenly in prepared casserole. 
  7. Remove one half of the remaining sauce to a large bowl and stir in the Swiss and Monterey Jack cheeses, the reserved caramelized onion mixture and one half of the remaining cooked pasta. Spread onion mixture evenly over spinach mixture.
  8. Add the remaining sauce to a large bowl and stir in the colby and medium Cheddar cheeses, red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, cayenne pepper and the remaining cooked pasta. Spread sun-dried tomato mixture evenly over onion mixture.
  9. For the Crispy Double-Cheese Topping, mix together cheese crackers, extra sharp cheddar cheese and parsley in a medium bowl. Sprinkle cracker mixture evenly over casserole.
  10. Bake for 30–40 minutes until golden brown and bubbling around the edges.


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In fact, most award-winning recipes use other shapes.
See the different pasta shapes in our


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