Dinner Party Macaroni Au Gratin

May 8, 2017

Sometimes just an ordinary dish won’t do for a fancy dinner.

Everyone loves macaroni and cheese, but this dish takes it to an elegant level.

When I was pregnant with my first set of twins, the prevailing wisdom in multiple pregnancies was that you really should eat a lot because twins have a high rate of prematurity and you want them to be a big as possible.

I translated this into eat as much as you want and as often (I was wrong about this by the way). This was a great strategy until I developed gestational diabetes.

When my sons were born, we were in North Carolina and often would make the drive to Poole’s Cafe in Raleigh, just so I could eat their macaroni au gratin. It is by far the most sophisticated macaroni and cheese I’ve ever had and some of the best. I refer to it as dinner party macaroni and cheese because of the sophisticated cheese blend and the creamy texture. I’ve adapted the Poole’s recipe slightly. It’s fancy but it is relatively easy to make. I make mine in the instant pot and finish it off in the oven. If you don’t have an instant pot, no worries, just make it the conventional way on the stove top.

mac and cheese


Macaroni Au Gratin

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  • 1 pound macaroni, cooked al dente and drained
  • 1 1/2 cup Jarlsberg, shredded and divided
  • 1 1/2 cup Grana Padano, shredded and divided
  • 4 cups white cheddar, shredded and divided
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 can evaporated milk (full fat)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. In the instant pot, add uncooked macaroni, butter, salt, and 4 cups water in the pressure cooker pot. Stir well. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes on manual mode When the cooking time is done, quick release the pressure and remove the lid. Preheat your broiler to high. Then add in the evaporated milk and the 3/4 th of cheese mix, stir to combine. You want to reserve 1/4 of the cheese mixture for the topping. Transfer the pasta to a deep gratin dish. Sprinkle the remaining Jarlsberg, Granda Padano and white cheddar over the top, distributing them evenly. Place the dish under the broiler. Watch it carefully, as you will need to rotate the dish to create an even crust. This will take from 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the strength of your broiler. Remove gratin from the oven and season with fresh cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, it is one of my favorites. My kids love it as well . I’m proud they enjoy the sophisticated flavors. The first time I made it was for Christmas dinner when my little twins were 2 and the big were 4. It received the best compliment…complete silence during consumption.

On a personal note, we are doing well since A’s eye injury. We have a follow up with the surgeon for her eye which has healed beautifully. Thank you for all the support and prayers!



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3 Comments on "Dinner Party Macaroni Au Gratin"

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Glad to hear the good update on.your daughter. I make a large baking dish (9×13) every two weeks of macaroni and cheese fall through spring and occasionally over the summer. I start with the white sauce, add grated cheese til melted sprinkle with buttered crumbs and bake. We use a blend of Swiss and Colby or cheddar. I don’t know if I’ve ever had Jarlsberg so I googled it and it’s also known as baby Swiss (???) and it was originally bought from Switzerland to Norway in the 1400s and reinvented as Jarlsberg. I’ve seen baby Swiss in the grocery… Read more »

I was at the grocer yesterday and checked the cheese case for Jarlsberg but did not see it, nor the other cheese you mentioned. We love cheese also.

I wish you a very happy Mother’s Day tomorrow. I hope your children have some lovely surprises in store for you.

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