Mushroom-Herb Macaroni & Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is a perennial favorite among kids and a safe fall back for parents with picky eaters. However, most adults will tell you that they still consider the ooey, gooey dish to be one of the ultimate comfort foods. One of the best things I could have ever done was learn how to make homemade macaroni and cheese from scratch. No more blue box mac n’ cheese for this girl! I have made quite a few different variations (a basic recipe, along with a “grown up” version that includes bacon) and I have to say that this one is by far my favorite. This mushroom-herb version was born out of a fondue dish that my Chief Culinary Consultant and I enjoyed during a snowy weekend last January while watching some playoff football. The fondue dish included brie with a couple of other cheeses and a mushroom-herb paste mixed in; I took this idea and turned it into an insanely delicious baked macaroni and cheese recipe.
As with most homemade macaroni and cheese recipes, this one is based on a bechemel sauce that includes melted cheese. Gruyere and white cheddar are two of my favorite cheeses and really complement each other well, so it was a no brainer for me to use them in this dish. The addition of mushrooms and herbs truly makes this more of a glammed up, gourmet style dish that you could easily serve to company and feel confident about. I love the layer of bread crumbs on top; it keeps the pasta from drying out in the oven and adds a deliciously crunch to each and every bite.
This recipe is currently being featured on the 30 Days 30 Ways with Macaroni & Cheese blog that celebrates National Macaroni and Cheese Month. That’s a perfect holiday, if there ever was one! Each day for 30 days a new macaroni and cheese recipe will be featured – you will have no lack of ideas for homemade macaroni and cheese! The good people of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board coordinated this effort and provided me a stipend for the ingredients in this recipe (anytime you can snag discount Gruyere, it’s a bonus!).
Do you have a favorite macaroni and cheese recipe? The thing I love about making it at home is all of the different variations you can try![/donotprint]
Mushroom-Herb Macaroni & Cheese
- 11 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 pound (453.59 g) cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1 shallot, minced
- Salt & pepper
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
- 3 cups (732 ml) whole milk
- 6 ounces (170.1 g) shredded Gruyere cheese, divided
- 6 ounces (170.1 g) shredded white cheddar cheese, divided
- 12 to 16 ounces (340 to 453 g) elbow or other small pasta
- 1 cup (108 g) plain bread crumbs
- 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Have a 9x13-inch baking dish ready. Set a pot of water (for the pasta) over high heat and cover.
- 2. In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and shallot and saute, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have cooked down and are browned, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the vinegar and cook, stirring, until the liquid has cooked off. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- 3. For the bechemel sauce, in a medium-sized saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, whisk in the flour and cook for about 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Add the herbs and, still whisking, saute for another 30 seconds. In a slow, steady stream, whisk in the milk. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer.
- 4. While waiting for the sauce to simmer, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook to al dente, or 1-2 minutes less than the box calls for.
- 5. Once the bechemel sauce simmers, stir in 5 ounces each of the Gruyere and white cheddar cheeses until completely melted. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.
- 6. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. In a small bowl, mix the melted butter with the breadcrumbs.
- 7. Strain the pasta and in a large mixing bowl, toss the pasta, the sauce, and the mushrooms. Pour into the baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1 ounce each of Gruyere and white cheddar. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top of the cheese.
- 8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until browned and bubbly. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
Do you think adding sour cream to the cheesy milk mixture would be good?
Hmm good question. I personally don’t like sour cream in my macaroni cheese; I usually go for the typical white sauce with cheese melted in, but if you like a tangier flavor you could try stirring some in.
I’ve been doing mac and cheese from scratch for years now, and couldn’t imagine going back. Will try your recipe, as I love mushrooms, and besides it looks delicious.
I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve made mac & cheese! And I’m still not sick of it. This variation looks delicious.
Girl, this looks fabulous! I can’t wait to try it.
Can not wait to try this one! It looks too good!!!
Oh my goodness….I just ate dinner and would STILL love a big ol’ bowl of this! Brilliant with the mushrooms! Can’t wait to try it!
I tried this on Thursday and it was fantastic. Thank you!
This looks just amazing…yum!
I saw the on Kitchen Addiction’s Fave Friday things and I am SO glad I did. It’s talkin’ to me … mmmm
My mouth is watering! Not normally a mac and cheese girl, this one looks amazing!
Looks fabulous! I’ve never had mac and cheese with mushrooms before, but it sounds like a great idea. Not sure why I never tried it before.
Wow, I love your version! Especially with mushrooms. Yum!
I love you site!!! Thanks for sharing so many yummy recipes!
Mmm, this looks SO good!!
This looks like a fabulous version of mac & cheese! I will definitely have to try it. I loved Ina’s version and Emeril’s version is really good too- it has some cayenne in it, and I really liked the extra spice.
WOW! That is SOME mac and cheese! Mmmm! I love how gruyere and cheddar are both in this, too!
Homemade mac and cheese is the best and I love the mushrooms in your version – yum!
I would eat mac and cheese every day if calories weren’t an issue. This looks fabulous. And thanks for the link to the macaroni and cheese blog – I will be checking that out too for some new ideas.
Oh man – I didn’t know it was national mac’n’cheese month. It’s is my absolute favorite comfort food and this looks like an excellent variation. I can’t wait to give this a try. Thanks so much for sharing :)
Yum! Macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite dishes to make because I can add different flavors every time. I’m not a big fan of mushrooms, but I love to add broccoli!
Y-U-M! Mushrooms and cheese together in perfect harmony. It looks like a happy weekend.
No, not at all. I think it would still be an outrageously good mac n’ cheese recipe! Enjoy :)
So, do you think it would lose a lot of flavor by omitting the mushroom? I’m against eating fungus…and I hate the texture of mushrooms.
i do agree mac and cheese is always one of the perfect comfort food among adults and kids!
with the richness from those cheese, it’s nice to have a lighter touch of mushrooms.
This looks delicious AND beautiful!
wow, love adding the mushrooms and the cheese combination must be awesome
I love making macaroni and cheese on cold nights. This recipe looks like a perfect one to try next! (Must be–it’s 8 a.m. and I’m ready to make it now!!)
This looks so delicious! Homemade mac and cheese is really the ultimate..and adding the mushrooms is brilliant!