Main & Side Dishes - Quick

Quick Mac and Cheese

This is a recipe my brother Steve recommended and we tried it out on several occasions. It was a definite hit. This recipe takes a little practice as the original directions had two or three things going on at the same time. I have modified the directions a little to simplify the preparation, but it still takes only a little more than 20 minutes to prepare.


‍ 1 quart milk

6 Tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

8 ounces shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese

8 ounces shredded 4-Cheese Italian Blend or Monterey Jack cheese 

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 pound cavatappi (corkscrew) pasta or your favorite (large shells or elbow work well)

1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs (plain)

2 teaspoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

2 teaspoons olive oil


  • Preheat broiler with oven rack 8-9 inches from heat.
  • Bring 1/4 cup salt and 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot over high heat.
  • Add pasta to boiling water and cook for 9-10 minutes. Drain pasta and set aside.
  • Microwave milk in a microwave-safe 1 quart glass measuring cup covered with plastic wrap at HIGH for 3 minutes.
  • While milk is heating, melt butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; add flour and cook, whisking constantly for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in hot milk. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil, whisking often for 6 minutes until the sauce (béchamel) becomes thickened.
  • Remove from heat; whisk in cheese, hot sauce, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Cover.
  • Stir together panko, Parmesan, and olive oil.
  • Fold cooked pasta into cheese sauce.
  • Transfer to a large casserole dish if skillet is not oven-safe.
  • Sprinkle top with panko mixture and broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden brown.
  • Serve immediately.

Copyright ©  Mike Perry, 2011