Top Pick Of The Week

October 9, 2012

Gourmet Mac & Cheese

Smoked Gruyère cheese is a velvety topping for penne rigate in this gourmet mac and cheese entrée. Photo courtesy Cucina Fresca.

WHAT IT IS: Frozen gourmet mac and cheese entrées.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Top quality pasta and cheeses, delicious recipes.
WHY WE LOVE IT: One of our favorite comfort foods, ready to eat in 10 minutes.
WHERE TO BUY IT: See the store locator at

Stock the freezer! Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.



Gourmet Mac And Cheese From Cucina Fresca

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How popular is gourmet mac and cheese?

In our town, there’s a restaurant, S’Mac, that serves only mac and cheese. There are 12 varieties, from La Mancha (Manchego cheese, fennel and onions) to Parisienne (Brie, roasted figs, roasted shiitake mushrooms and fresh rosemary—here’s the full menu).

This popular concept quickly expanded to three locations (hopefully, another will open in our neighborhood) for eat-in, take-out or delivery to those who hunger for gourmet mac and cheese.

But what about you, far away from the nearest S’Mac?

For you, there’s Cucina Fresca’s new line of luscious, frozen gourmet mac and cheese entrées. Buy a few boxes, stick them in the freezer and in 10 minutes in the microwave (30 in the oven) you’ve got gourmet mac and cheese as good as any restaurant’s.

Gourmet Mac & Cheese Flavors

What makes these entrees “gourmet” is better quality cheese and better quality pasta. With all due respect to an American staple, this mac and cheese has nothing to do with boxes of elbow macaroni and powdered cheese sauce.

You can make Cucina Fresca’s entrées even more gourmet by adding your favorite ingredients (see the list below). But let’s start off with creamy, cheesy, luxuriantly velvety recipes, each with a distinctive personality:

  • Sharp Cheddar Mac and Cheese, made with two-year aged white Cheddar
  • Smoked Gruyère Mac and Cheese, made with a blend of aged Gruyère, Swiss and Fontina, and a touch of lightly smoked Spanish paprika
  • Tangy Gorgonzola Mac and Cheese, a mellow Gorgonzola cheese blended a tangy blue cheese and Fontina
  • Creamy Fontina Mac and Cheese, a blend of Fontina, aged Asiago and imported Parmesan cheeses

We also have to applaud the company’s Lazy Lasagna, a recipe concept that uses ravioli instead of the more time-consuming layering of lasagne noodles and cheeses:

  • Roasted Butternut Squash Lazy Lasagna With Alfredo Sauce, topped with mozzarella cheese
  • Spinach and Cheese Lazy Lasagna With Marinara Sauce, topped with mozzarella cheese


Toppings For Gourmet Mac & Cheese


Make your gourmet mac and cheese even more gourmet with the addition of toppings or mix-ins:

  • Herbs & Spices: Top with snipped basil, chives, cilantro, dill, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon or thyme
  • Proteins: Grilled chicken, seafood or sliced steak
  • Spices: Add a shake of caraway, celery seed, cumin, curry, jalapeño or red pepper flakes, nutmeg
  • Veggies: Top with sautéed arugula, asparagus, broccoli, fennel, onion, sundried tomato, or watercress
  • BLT: Add sautéed halved cherry tomatoes, crumbled bacon and an arugula chiffonade
  • Your Own Creation: Combine your favorite ingredients into a signature mac and cheese

Enjoy them plain or primped: Gourmet Mac and Cheese from Cucina Fresca promises a great meal.

Learn more at

— Karen Hochman


Make Your Gourmet Mac & Cheese


Macaroni & Cheese: 52 Recipes from Simple to Sublime, by Joan Schwartz. Add bursts of flavor to mac and cheese with truffle oil, salsa and other ideas. More information.


Macaroni & Cheese Recipes, by Publications International. Whether it’s quick and easy or elegant and over-the-top, you’ll find inspiration in this cookbook. More information.


Macaroni And Cheese, by Marlena Spieler. The popular American comfort food goes global, from Greek pastitsio to Indian falooda, a dessert. More information.


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