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Macaroni and Cheese

Dress up a basic bowl of macaroni and cheese with a variety of mix-in options for a hearty wintertime meal.

Ingredients

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces dried elbow pasta
  • 2 cups dried bread crumbs or panko
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 4 tablespoons melted, plus more for baking dishes
  • 1 pound assorted cheeses, such as Parmigiano Reggiano, cheddar, Gruyere, mozzarella, fontina, or Monterey Jack, finely grated
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Mix-in of choice (optional; see below)

Broccoli and Caramelized Onions

  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen broccoli, coarsely chopped
  • 2 onions, julienned and cooked in 1 tablespoon olive oil until caramelized, about 25 minutes

Tuna with Capers and Olives

  • 2 (5-ounce) cans water-packed albacore tuna, drained
  • 1/3 cup capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped pitted green olives

Peas and Ham

  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen peas
  • 3/4 pound coarsely chopped cooked ham

Spinach and Feta

  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen spinach, squeezed dry
  • 2 cups crumbled feta cheese

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, generously salt and add pasta. Cook 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.

  2. Step 2

    Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together bread crumbs and 4 tablespoons melted butter; toss to coat. In a second large bowl, mix together cheeses. Transfer 1 cup cheese to bowl with bread crumb mixture and toss to combine; set aside.

  3. Step 3

    Butter eight 6-ounce shallow baking dishes or one 1 1/2-quart shallow baking dish.

  4. Step 4

    Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until bubbling but not browning, about 45 seconds. Add milk and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon, until thickened, about 4 minutes. Add remaining cheese, stirring until completely melted and sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper, add dried mustard and cayenne, and stir to combine.

  5. Step 5

    Add pasta to sauce and stir to thoroughly combine. Fold in one of the mix-ins, if desired. Pour into prepared baking dishes and sprinkle evenly with the bread crumb mixture.

  6. Step 6

    Place dishes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until bubbling and cheese is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Source
The Martha Stewart Show, January 2012

Reviews (2)

  • 10 Feb, 2012

    This was a very nice recipe. I cooked a whole 13.something ounce box of Barilla pasta and basically used 1 1/2 times everything else, then baked it in a very large baking dish for 40 minutes. 1 1/2 times the bread crumb topping was a bit much, though, so 1x would probably be enough. My mix-ins were ham and lots of broccoli. I made the caramelized onions and served them on top of each portion. It was lovely!

  • 21 Jan, 2012

    First snowy day of 2012 and this recipe hit the spot. It is delicious and comforting in every way. Couldn't get out of the house because of the snow. I had all the main ingredients in my refrigerator and pantry. It is quick to make and easy to eat! Thank you for a great recipe!