Double the Legacy Baked Macaroni and Cheese for #tbtfood and the Cabot Cheese Farmer’s Legacy Recipe Contest

legacy baked macaroni and cheeseI entered a recipe contest, you guys. The contest, which I heard about at the Food & Wine Conference in Orlando a couple of months ago, was sponsored by Cabot Cheese to help publicize their Farmer's Legacy Cheddar Cheeses. The Beloved and I had had one of the Farmer's Legacy cheeses, White Oak Cheddar, long before I even heard about this contest. I even used the White Oak Cheddar in the Envy Apple Salad I posted a few months ago, although I didn't name it then since it was a sponsored post for the fine New Zealand fruit folks. And now you know.

The contest challenged entrants to use at least 2 ounces of one of Farmers' Legacy Cheddar Cheeses in an update to a family recipe, and I chose to update my mom's baked macaroni and cheese.

I'm not sure if you've heard me tell the story about how I thought I didn't like macaroni and cheese when I was a kid. It turns out, I wasn't really a fan of my mom's mac and cheese though. Sorry Mom, but there you have it. I'm not sure why I didn't like my mom's macaroni and cheese. I mean, what's not to like about cheesy noodles? Still, I dinstinctly remember being Not Thrilled whenever it showed up on the dinner table. Maybe it's because we always ate it covered in ketchup (I was only following my dad's example), or maybe it's because mom has a very light hand with the salt. And you know how I feel about salt.

So, how does a recipe that I admittedly didn't even like become the basis for a recipe contest in which I will (positive thinking) win $5000 with another $5000 going to the charity of my choice? This is a fair question. When I decided to give mom's baked macaroni & cheese a reboot, I called her up to ask how she made it. And it sounded pretty much like how I make my macaroni and cheese. Sneaky! I made a couple of variations, added a couple of eggs for richness, enough salt to bring out the flavor of the cheese, and a crispy panko topping, and I was in business.

legacy baked macaroni and cheeseI promise this macaroni & cheese is delicious. Yes, even without the ketchup.

Let me take a minute to tell you about the cheeses I used. The White Oak Cheddar is simply spectacular. It melts well, and it's also delicious on its own. It's buttery, somewhat sharp and complex. The Alpine Cheddar is described on the packaging as nutty and smooth with hints of Swiss and Parmesan. That hits the nail on the head. It does taste a bit like a mixture of cheeses with some of the sharp saltiness of Parmesan and the lovely mellow nuttiness of Swiss. Using the two cheeses together made for a cheese sauce that tasted like it contained many cheeses and not just two.

If you're a fan of old-fashioned baked macaroni and cheese, all bubbly and golden brown straight from the oven, then look no further than my Double the Legacy Baked Macaroni and Cheese. Best of luck to all the entrants. Please check out the Cabot Cheese Cabot Farmer's Legacy Recipe Pinterest board to see all the entries.

4.7 from 3 reviews
Double the Legacy Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe type: Casserole
Cuisine: American
What You Need
For the Macaroni and Cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ⅔ cup (3 oz) sweet onion, small dice
  • 1 ½- 1¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided use
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 3 cups (24 oz) half and half
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 oz (1/2 package) Cabot Farmer’s Legacy Collection Alpine Cheddar Cheese, coarsely grated
  • 3 oz (1/2 package) Cabot Farmer’s Legacy Collection White Oak Cheddar Cheese, coarsely grated
  • 2 large eggs
  • 12 oz penne or favorite short pasta shape, cooked to al dente according to package directions.
For the Topping
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 oz (1/6 package) Cabot Farmer’s Legacy Collection Alpine Cheddar Cheese, finely grated
  • 1 oz (1/6 package) Cabot Farmer’s Legacy Collection White Oak Cheddar Cheese, finely grated
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter
What To Do
For the Macaroni and Cheese
  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the 3 Tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
  2. When the butter is sizzling, add the diced onion, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper.
  3. Cook, stirring to keep the onions moving, until they are translucent and just starting to color, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the flour and cook another 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Pour in the half and half all at once, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  6. Once the dairy mixture has reached a boil, stir in the mustard powder, sweet paprika and garlic powder. Reduce the heat to medium-low to low and maintain a low simmer for 5 minutes to thicken the sauce, stirring frequently to keep the sauce from sticking.
  7. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the two cheddar cheeses, a bit at a time, until all the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the remaining ½-3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt, to taste.
  8. Allow the sauce to cool while you cook and drain the pasta.
  9. Whisk the two eggs into the somewhat cooled sauce until well-combined.
  10. Thoroughly fold the pasta into the sauce. Distribute the pasta among 4-6 large (1.5 cup to 2 cup capacity) ramekins.
  11. Evenly divide the panko mixture on top of the ramekins of macaroni and cheese, and press down gently.
  12. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake at 350F in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes, or until bubbling.
  13. Broil for 1-2 minutes until the topping is of your desired deep golden brown.
For the Topping
  1. Stir together the panko, three cheeses, salt and pepper.
  2. Evenly drizzle in the melted butter and work it in until all the panko is moistened.

legacy baked macaroni and cheesePlease wish me luck in the contest--this is kind of a new thing for me. And best of luck to everyone who entered. Folks have come up with tons of ideas for using Cabot Farmers Legacy Cheese in their family recipes.

Thanks for spending some time with me today. Have a lovely day.


  1. says

    What a champion mac and cheese recipe. It looks like a winner to me. I really like the addition of the egg. This is one of my favorite dishes. It pleases me that it and variations of it has made a visible comeback. I can’t wait to try this version.

    • says

      Thank you so much, Carol! I bet you’d really like the book Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese. Tons of amazing variations in that book–lots of inspiration!

  2. says

    In our house, growing up, macaroni and cheese was sweet, unless it came from the blue box. That’s how my mother’s mother’s family had made and eaten it for all eternity. Why?? Why?? I cannot tell you but it was made with American cheese and milk and sugar. It looked like something warm and cheesy and sticky, all nicely browned on top, until the first bite and just, no. The adults loved it though and it was a must at every Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

    Your mac and cheese has all the hallmarks of greatness, Jenni! Wonderful salty cheddars, mustard powder and, of course, the crunchy top with even more cheese. Also, I love the name! Legacy from your mom and legacy from the cheese! How can this one not win?

    • says

      Oh, Stacy, I’m horrified! Horrified!! Why, indeed, would they do that to poor unsuspecting mac&cheese? Was it their idea of a kugel or something?! Shudder. I’m very sorry that happened to you. 🙁

      I hope my mac&cheese does well–lots of delicious-looking entries, Stacy! Fingers crossed! <3

      • says

        It was an old family recipe. They didn’t think there was anything wrong with it at all! My mom said that my father didn’t like it at first but that he grew to love it. I keep meaning to confirm that. Of course, that man will eat anything. It’s one of the things I love the most about him. 🙂 I’m crossing all my available parts for you, Jenni!

        • says

          I would love to know the history of your family’s recipe–I’m all interested now. In an I-don’t-want-to-eat-it-I-just-want-to-know kind of way! I appreciate all the Crossings! xoxo

  3. MaggieToo says

    Oooo, Jenni, your comment just set my heart racing — kugel! Every time I’ve had kugel, I’ve thought “I love everything about this concept, noodles and custard, but somehow the taste just misses…”

    I bet you could come up with an improvement on kugel (with either noodles or matzoh) that fulfilled my dreams.

    All appeldages crossed for you in this contest! I’ve never been a mac ‘n cheese person either, but your description of these cheeses made me want a bite.

    • says

      I’ve never made even a basic kugel, but it is definitely on my list of stuff I want to play with. I wonder if I can do a pumpkin version…? And the cheese is really good. At room temp with wine, it’s way more than good, Maggie!

  4. MaggieToo says

    I just did a quick Google Image search to see if any other bloggers had attempted pumpkin kugel, and there are a few variations out there. I think you should go totally Southern and make yours a sweet potato kugel. (Very autumnal!)

  5. R A Bailey says

    came home from a lousy day, craving mac and cheese. Opened the refrig and found all the cheeses I needed to make this goodness. YUM, YUM, YUM – for the 20th time I have made this – there’s just never enough left

    • says

      Aw, Ruth Ann! I’m so sorry you had a sucky day. Glad I was able to make your day a little bit better with this recipe. Can’t have too many delicious mac & cheese recipes!


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