This French take on macaroni and cheese has a nice, assertive flavor. Panko are Japanese crumbs that you can find in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets.
8 ounces small elbow macaroni (2 cups)
2 cups (packed) grated Gruyere, Asiago or Emmenthaler cheese (or a combination of the three), divided
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto or pancetta, coarsely chopped, optional
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup panko or regular bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, cut into bits.
Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 400 degrees. Butter an 11-by-7-inch-glass or ceramic baking dish.
Cook macaroni in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain well.
Whisk 1 cup cheese, cream, milk, optional prosciutto, 3 tablespoons Parmesan and nutmeg in large bowl to blend. Add macaroni and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese over top and sprinkle with additional Parmesan. Dot with butter and bake until cheese melts and macaroni and cheese sets, about 20 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 6.
Per serving: 435 calories; 26 g fat (16 g saturated fat; 54 percent calories from fat); 30 g carbohydrates; 96 mg cholesterol; 416 mg sodium; 19 g protein; 1 g fiber.