Better Mac and Cheese

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe. For the last year or so I’ve been experimenting with macaroni and cheese recipes, trying to concoct something that’s a little better than the old Joy of Cooking recipe. I finally think I’ve hit on it. Last night I felt like a little comfort food, I had an inspiration, and I put this version together. Here’s what I did. Health food this ain’t.


1 medium onion, chopped fine
3 oz. unsalted butter
6 oz. dried macaroni
1 cup milk
8 oz. neufchâtel cheese, sliced in cubes
2½ cups grated cheddar cheese (I used Tillamook Extra Sharp)
3 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
½ cup panko crumbs
Salt and pepper

Now cook!

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Cook the macaroni al dente according to the package directions. Drain and reserve.
  3. Saute the onion in 2 Tbsp. of the butter in a large saucepan over low heat until it is transparent.
  4. Add the milk and neufchâtel cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted into a thick sauce. Remove from heat.
  5. Stir in the macaroni, 2 cups of the cheddar cheese, and 2 Tbsp. of the parmesan cheese.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Transfer the macaroni and cheese mixture to an oven-proof casserole. I used an enamel-coated ironware dish and I found that it worked beautifully without any additional preparation (buttering, etc.). You know your own cookware best.
  8. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs, the remaining cheddar cheese, and the remaining parmesan cheese over the top. Dot with the remaining tablespoon of butter.
  9. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes or until the mac and cheese is bubbling and the top is browned.

How many will this serve? Weelllll, it all depends. I made half this recipe on Friday night and along with a green salad it was an elegant sufficiency for my wife and me. So, theoretically it should serve four adults. Or you can sit down and eat it all your own bad self.

If you don’t think it’s enough, add another couple of ounces of macaroni.

2 comments… add one
  • Andy Link

    Nice recipe!

    The one I make is similar but uses regular cream cheese, a cheddar and monterey jack blend and I substitute sour cream for 1/2 the milk. If the kids aren’t eating it, I add a little kick with some chipotle chili powder.

    The panko sounds like a great idea – I never did like “regular” bread crumbs, so I usually top it with more cheese. Sometimes you just can’t get enough cheese.

  • Daniel G Link

    Better than Kraft, but how does it stack against Velveeta Shells ‘n Cheez…?

    I’ll have to ask Michael G to cook this around the holidays. I always did love homestyle pasta con queso, though I wonder how my Grandma G made it. Thanks gEye!

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