This Midwest 5 Cheese Bake is a delicious, CHEESY combination of cheeses all baked together and seasoned perfectly. Less creamy, more cheesy makes this easy dish different than a typical mac and cheese.
Look at me, posting 2 pasta dishes in a row! (Last week I shared a Mushroom and Garlic Butter Pasta). I took a pretty long break from pasta in my life…not intentionally, honestly, I just think I get into ruts where I was making pasta dishes all the time, and then I wasn’t. And I do tend to make more pasta in the fall and winter months than I do in the spring and summer. There is no rhyme or reason to my food preferences. It’s usually all based in ease, necessity, and lack of creativity. But here we are again, apparently back in pasta season.
Pasta and cheese season. Merry merry!
This is one of those easy, cozy, everyone-loves-it meals.
Make it as a main, make it as a side, or take it to a potluck…it’s a crown pleaser for sure.
The types of cheeses involved make it different than your standard mac and cheese (no cheddar!) …plus, there’s sour cream and cream cheese involved, which gives it (very) slight tang that I loooooove.
I use mozzarella as the base, and then add some big flavors…provolone, Swiss, Parmesan…and then cream cheese for creaminess. Also, I will say this and please note…grate your own cheese. The pre-grated just doesn’t melt as nicely, due to the coating they use to prevent sticking.
Also I wrote in the recipe to use “Italian Seasoning”, which totally works, but I actually love using the Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute in this. If you have a TJs local to you, hop over and grab some.
It’s really an easy dish to make, which with school starting, any easy dinner ideas are welcome!
And yes, you can certainly adjust the cheeses to suit your own preferences. You just boil some pasta and mix the other ingredients in with the warm pasta. Spread it all in a 9×13 dish…
And bake it until the top is golden and all the cheeses are melted!
It is one of those dishes that is best served immediately, because that cheese pull is EVERYTHING!
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup grated Swiss
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup grated provolone
- 1 cup cream cheese, room temperature and cubed
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 9×13 baking dish lightly in nonstick spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the mozzarella, Swiss, Parmesan, provolone cheese, and cream cheese. Reserve 3/4 cup of the cheese mixture to use for topping. In a smaller bowl combine the sour cream, heavy cream, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and seasoned salt.
- Boil pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain. Add hot pasta in the to bowl with the grated cheeses and add the sour cream mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until combined.
- Pour the pasta into the prepared dish and sprinkle with the reserved cheeses.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes until all the cheese is melted and the topping is lightly golden.
- Serve immediately.
For best and most creamy results, don’t use pre-grated cheese in this recipe. Grate all the cheese fresh.