Historically Good Macaroni and Cheese

Dinner, Featured Article, Recipes
on June 28, 2013
Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese
Mark Boughton Photography / styling: Teresa Blackburn

Macaroni and cheese has always seemed to us an American dish, but it turns out the first recipe, with grated cheese and butter, appeared in an English cookbook more than 600 years ago. Years later, French refugees introduced a version of macaroni and cheese to the American South. African-American cooks transformed it into the rich and creamy dish we are familiar with and served it as a vegetable or side.

Children are big fans of macaroni and cheese, especially the kind made from a package. Every day, Kraft sells a million blue boxes of macaroni and cheese, and at last count, two-thirds were to households with children. “It’s warm and inviting,” says Lisa Gibbons at Kraft Foods.

From the hundreds of recipes out there, we created a delectable, from-scratch macaroni and cheese. We substituted penne for the elbows and instead of one cheese, used a combination of Cheddar, cream cheese, Gruyère and Parmigiano Reggiano.

—Jean Kressy a food writer in Ashburnham, Mass.