Baked Macaroni from Monticello

  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 35 mins

For baked macaroni as it was probably served at Monticello, we turn to Mary Randolph's "Macaroni" in The Virginia House-Wife, which is essentially the same as a recipe that survives in the family manuscripts. Thomas Jefferson preferred real imported Parmesan cheese and tried to keep Monticello's larder stocked with a ready supply. Today, you'll find labeled "Parmigiano Reggiano" in the market.


4cups whole milk
1pound tube-shaped macaroni, such as small penne
-- Salt
8ounces Parmesan cheese (preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano), or extra-sharp Farmhouse Cheddar
6tablespoons unsalted butter, diced


  1. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat it to 375 degrees. Stir together the milk and 4 cups of water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the macaroni, stirring well, and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the macaroni is tender (about 2 minutes for fresh, 4 to 6 minutes for fresh and dried, and 8 to 12 minutes for dried and boxed). Lightly drain the macaroni in a colander (it should be a little wet) and return to the pot. Season with salt to taste and toss well.
  2. Lightly butter a 2-quart casserole and cover the bottom with a third of the macaroni. Dot it with a third of the butter and shave a third of the cheese over it with a vegetable peeler or mandolin. Repeat the layers twice more, finishing with a thick layer of cheese. Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Recipe from Dining at Monticello: In Good Taste and Abundance, edited by Damon Lee Fowler and published by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc., 2005. Distributed by the University of North Carolina Press.

Nutritional Info *per serving

  • Calories 480
  • Glycemic Load 12.43
  • Fat 28g
  • Saturated Fat 17g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 8g
  • Cholesterol 75mg
  • Sodium 710mg
  • Potassium 290mg
  • Carbohydrate 32g
  • Fiber 1g
  • Sugars 9g
  • Protein 24g
  • Trans Fat 0.5g
  • Vitamin A 20%
  • Vitamin C 0%
  • Calcium 70%
  • Iron 8%