Say hello to my new favorite mac & cheese recipe!
While my mom’s mac reigns supreme in my family, I do like to go out on a limb and switch things up every now and then. One can never have too many mac and cheese recipes up her sleeve, right? Right.
This mac is creamy, dreamy, and super cheesy and topped with the most delicious breadcrumbs! They’re flavored with crispy prosciutto, crisped sage leaves, and a little sage brown butter. The flavor is out of this world.
Don’t even get me started on the amazing texture it adds to this dish! CRAZY GOOD.
I love the idea of mac and cheese as a Thanksgiving side, although I have to admit, I did not grow up eating mac on Turkey Day. Nope. My family generally stuck to our basics: stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, cranberry sauce, creamed pearl onions, and a veggie or two. Mac and cheese was not on our list of traditional sides!
Dan’s family, though, DID often have mac and cheese on Thanksgiving. And I’m not a stickler for the rules when cheesy carbs are on the table. Let’s be honest.
This mac features some of my favorite cheeses: gruyere, a really sharp cheddar, and some parmesan. I mean, you have to know it’s going to be good when those three players are involved. Game over, really.
The base of the cheese sauce is sage brown butter. I make a batch in the pot I am going to do the cheese sauce in and reserve some for the breadcrumb topping. The rest goes right into the sauce to add incredible flavor and spicy warmth.
Crispy sage and I have a years-long love affair. And the brown butter used to crisp it up? It should be a sin.
To the sage brown butter, I add a shallot for extra flavor, sauteing it until it’s soft and fragrant. The rest of the cheese sauce is a pretty straightforward process. Add in some flour, cook out the raw flour, slowly stream in milk, add in your cheeses and let them melt and get ooey gooey, and then stir in a splash of heavy cream for richness and moisture. All that’s left to do is add in your favorite short noodle (cooked, of course!) and stir to combine. Get it into a buttered baking dish and we’re almost there.
Back to breadcrumbs. We take the crispy sage, some of the sage browned butter, and some prosciutto slices that we crisped in the oven, and pulverize them in a food processor. Then, the mix gets stirred into panko breadcrumbs! That’s it. Super easy while still feeling incredibly fancy. Just like the holidays should be.
We top that creamy mac and cheese with the breadcrumbs and pop the whole shebang into the oven for 15-20 minutes, just to allow those breadcrumbs to get golden and crisp and lovely.
Then, she’s ready! Just before serving, I top with a few more crispy sage leaves (I told you, it’s a full-on love affair) for dramatic flair and then serve it up!
This mac and cheese is a decadent as it gets and packed with so much flavor! We consider ourselves mac and cheese connoisseurs and we couldn’t stop eating it.
Make this for your Thanksgiving table, no matter how you are celebrating, and whoever is there with you will be very, very happy with you. That’s a guarantee!
This Mac & Cheese With Prosciutto Sage Breadcrumbs is a decadent main course or side dish ideal for the holiday season! Creamy, rich, flavored with three cheeses, and topped off with a crazy-good mixture of sage, brown butter, crispy prosciutto, and breadcrumbs!
- 6 slices prosciutto
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup fresh sage leaves
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2¾ cups milk (2% or whole work best)
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 oz gruyere cheese, grated
- 4 oz parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 lb short pasta shape of choice, cooked and drained
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the prosciutto slices out in an even layer on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, checking often, or until the prosciutto is slightly shriveled and crisp in spots.
- Remove from the oven and allow the prosciutto to cool on the baking sheet – it will continue to crisp as it cools.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in the bottom of a large saucepan. At this point, I also start the water in another pot to cook my pasta.
- Once it is melted, add the sage leaves and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, or until the butter is starting to brown and the sage leaves are crisp. Remove the pot from the heat.
- Place the prosciutto, crispy sage leaves (I reserve a few for garnish later – totally optional), and 2 tablespoons of the sage butter into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to finely chop the prosciutto and sage leaves into crumbs. Mix with the panko breadcrumbs in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Return the pot with the remaining sage butter to medium heat. Add in the shallot and cook for a minute or two until the shallot is fragrant and beginning to soften.
- Add the flour and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens.
- Slowly and gradually stream in the milk, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the milk is thickened and creamy enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheeses. Stir until the cheeses are completely incorporated and melted. Stir in the heavy cream.
- Stir the cooked pasta noodles into the cheese sauce and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
- Pour the mac and cheese into a buttered 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Top with the sage-prosciutto breadcrumbs and place in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until bubbly, hot, and golden brown on top.
- Right before serving, garnish with any reserved crispy sage leaves. Serve hot.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: mac and cheese
Keywords: baked mac and cheese with breadcrumb topping, sage and crispy prosciutto breadcrumbs, mac and cheese with sage and prosciutto, sage brown butter breadcrumbs