It's the ultimate comfort food for a reason!

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There is a reason that macaroni and cheese is such a comfort. Carbohydrates bring that endorphin rush, and since fat carries flavor, cheese and dairy make the delivery system completely delicious! Macaroni and cheese has been having an epic decade, and there are no shortage of amazing recipes to be found. But if you love that classic combo, there are other less obvious dishes from around the world you need to get to know! Because noodles and cheese go way beyond mac if you know where to look. Here are our top five ways to get your cheesy noodle on!

Cacio e Pepe Lasagna
Cacio e Pepe Lasagna
| Credit: Buckwheat Queen

Noodle Kugel

This traditional Jewish dish is the ultimate comfort casserole with strong roots in Eastern European culture, using a combination of cottage or farmers cheese and sour cream in the mix. It is good all day, from breakfast thru dinner, can be the main attraction or a side dish, and is insanely easy to make. Even better? It can go either sweet or savory depending on your preference. Essentially a baked noodle pudding, with egg noodles suspended in a cheesy custard, topped with a crunchy topping, it is a dish that can be a wonderful addition to your repertoire! Try this Cinnamon Noodle Kugel for your next brunch.

Cinnamon Noodle Kugel
Cinnamon Noodle Kugel
| Credit: Elise Contarsy

Cacio e Pepe

The Italians know that if you have perfect pasta and a special cheese, you need very little else to make magic. This traditional dish, translated as "Cheese and Pepper", is little more than long noodles slicked with a sauce that is really only grated pecorino cheese and the starchy pasta cooking water, bolstered by a healthy amount of freshly ground black pepper to balance the salty richness of the cheese. It tastes creamy without any cream or butter, and is the ultimate bowl of comfort for whatever ails you. Try this version with bucatini for a pasta that will soak up the sauce in all the right ways.

Bucatini Cacio e Pepe (Roman Sheep Herder's Pasta)
Bucatini Cacio e Pepe
| Credit: Buckwheat Queen

Greek Spaghetti

The Greeks have a great pasta tradition, from their version of lasagna, pastitsio, to orzo, rice-shaped pasta that appears in soups and as a side dish. But a lesser known, and in my mind, one of the best dishes they make is a homey dish of spaghetti tossed with browned butter, cinnamon, browned garlic, and either crumbled feta or salty mizithra cheese. The simple combo needs no recipe, you simply gently cook sliced garlic in butter until both the butter is browned and the garlic is crispy, being careful not to let it burn, and then toss in cooked spaghetti and a generous amount of cheese.

Greek Spaghetti I
Greek Spaghetti I
| Credit: lovestohost

Käsepäetzle

If you love spaetzle, those little dumpling nuggets that are one of the best things about German cuisine, you will love this version, which tosses those same dumplings with cheese and butter for a side dish that is every bit as delicious as it sounds. Try this version with Emmenthaler, or go rogue with butterkase cheese, which melts gorgeously and bring extra creaminess to the party. Try this recipe for Käsepäetzle.

Kaese Spaetzle
Kaese Spaetzle
| Credit: rn4flight

Fiskegrateng

This Norwegian dish is essentially a mac and cheese bolstered with fish and peas for an all-in-one meal that might just be the ancestor of our tuna noodle casserole! While you can source recipes online, one easy way to try this dish is to swap out the usual American or Cheddar in your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe with a cheese like Jarlsburg or other Swiss style cheese, and add about a pound of cubed cod filet and a cup of green peas to the dish before baking.

Check out our collection of Macaroni and Cheese Recipes.

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