Healthy Macaroni and Cheese

A quick and easy way to make a down-home favorite.

Posted in , Apr 16, 2010

Pasta recipes: Skillet Macaroni and Cheese

By increasing the fiber in this casserole (both with whole wheat pasta and more veggies), we can enjoy the luxury of a down-home favorite. This isn’t a baked casserole but a skillet supper, quicker and easier.


6 ounces grated Cheddar cheese

2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 small yellow onion, chopped

6 ounces cremini or white button mushrooms, sliced

3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

3 cups low-fat or fat-free milk

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon minced tarragon leaves or 2 teaspoons dried tarragon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces dried, whole wheat pasta shells (not the large ones for stuffing), cooked and drained according to the package instructions

4 cups broccoli florets and stems


1. Mix the Cheddar and Parmigiano-Reggiano in a medium bowl. Set aside.

2. Melt the butter in a large, high-sided, oven-safe skillet. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes.

3. Add the mushrooms and cook until they release their liquid, it comes to a simmer, and then reduces by about two-thirds, about 5 minutes.

4. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables in the skillet. Stir well to coat.

5. Whisk in the milk in a steady, thin stream until creamy. Then whisk in the mustard, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Continue whisking until the mixture starts to bubble and the liquid thickens, about 3 minutes.

6. Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in three-quarters of the mixed cheeses until smooth. Then stir in the cooked pasta and the broccoli.

7. Preheat the broiler after setting the rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source. Meanwhile, sprinkle the remaining cheese over the ingredients in the skillet. Set the skillet on the rack and broil until light browned and bubbling, about 5 minutes. (If your skillet has a plastic or wooden handle, make sure it sticks outside the oven, out from under the broiler, so the handle doesn’t melt.) Cool for 5 to 10 minutes before dishing up.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information:  Calories: 600; Fat: 25g; Cholesterol: 70mg; Sodium: 860mg; Total Carbohydrates: 64g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugars: 13g; Protein: 32g.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Real Food Has Curves by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, ©2010 Simon & Schuster.

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