This is a no-fail dish that is creamy and rich in flavor. This dish freezes well and can be easily doubled to have one for dinner and one for later on. After baking be sure to let it stand for about fifteen minutes or so, otherwise it will be runny. If you don't want to use Fontina, you can substitute the following cheeses: Gouda, Edam, Provolone, Gruyere or Emmental.
12 ounces wide egg noodles
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups grated Fontina, Gouda, or Edam cheese, packed
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, packed
3/4 cup grated mozzarella, packed
6+ slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, optional
8 ounces cooked ham, diced, optional
Pinch grated nutmeg, optional
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup Panko or dried bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with no-vegetable baking spray (Pam) or use butter and set aside. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to bite, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Drain well, but do not rinse.
In a large bowl, stir the cream, milk, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Add 1 cup Fontina, Gouda, or Edam cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup mozzarella, bacon or ham, if using, grated nutmeg, if using, and parsley.
Add the cooked noodles and stir to coat. Transfer the noodle mixture to the prepared baking dish. Toss the remaining 1 cup Fontina, Gouda or Edam, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1/4 cup mozzarella in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the noodle mixture. Mix 4 tablespoons melted butter with Panko or dried bread crumbs and sprinkle over macaroni and cheese. Note: Before putting in oven let it stand on counter for about ten minutes to let the noodles soak up the cream mixture.
Bake until the sauce bubbles and the cheese melts and begins to brown on top, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it stand for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Serve with a green salad and crusty garlic bread.
Serves 6 to 8.
Note: You can also pre-bake this dish the day before and refrigerate. Remove it from refrigerator, and let it sit for an hour to bring it to room temperature and then re-heat it until it is warm enough to serve.