Macaroni & Cheese with Fresh Sage & Garlic Bread Crumbs

This past weekend, my husband and I made a date to sit in front of our TV at 5:30 p.m to watch our favorite college basketball team (Go Cuse!) on ESPN 2.  Watching college basketball in our house is a big deal and since this game would begin and end during dinner time, I decided to make something conducive to throwing in the oven to cook while watching the game and then eating easily on the couch.  I love homemade macaroni and cheese, but honestly do not make it enough.  It’s not the healthiest thing for you, and it’s just one of those easy recipes that I often overlook.  But it’s gooey and delicious, and I decided it was the perfect meal to make — I could prepare it before the game started and then during one of the time-outs, throw it in the oven to bake.  I spiced up the breadcrumbs with some sautéed garlic and added some fresh sage to the milk, cheese, and onion mix.  Instead of using heavy cream, I used milk and also used Barilla whole wheat shells to make it a tad bit healthier.  This dish is so creamy and comforting — Syracuse won too, so it was a good night!


  • 1 pound shells
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk (I used skim)
  • 1 small, yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 3 cups white sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper to season

Bread Crumb Topping:

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, minced


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and stir it for 2 for about 3 minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps.
  4. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and sage. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
  5. Stir in cheddar cheese and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a casserole dish. Top with Parmesan cheese.
  7. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saute pan and add the garlic.  Let cook 1 minute.
  8. Add the bread crumbs and toss to coat.
  9. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes or until bread crumb topping is golden brown.


Filed under Main Course, Pasta

7 responses to “Macaroni & Cheese with Fresh Sage & Garlic Bread Crumbs

  1. You had me at Mac and Cheese and ‘Cuse! 🙂 That’s where my husband and I met and we’re die-hard SU fans. I’ll have to make this recipe sometime soon since he loves a good macaroni and cheese. Thanks!

  2. I heart mac n cheese! The garlic and sage would make this uber-comforting and yummy!

  3. Oh boy does this mac and cheese look GOOD! That is one of my favorite comfort dishes! Great job Kara;)

  4. Amy

    I love that you have used shell pasta! My Mom used to always use that :)! This looks wonderful! I would love a big bowl of it on a cold snowy day like today!

  5. Oh yum! The garlic breadcrumbs sound soooo delicious! I love macaroni and cheese and you just can’t beat homemade. 🙂

    Christina @ Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

  6. I LOVE macaroni and cheese… I’m officially craving it now. Looks delicious!

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