21st Century Mac and Cheese

iStock

This is comfort food at its finest -- and most simple. Enjoy this delicious remake of a childhood favorite.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound (2 cups ) raw penne pasta, cooked and drained
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 3/4 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 generous cup (5 ounces) shredded good quality, extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 5 ounces cream cheese, crumbled
  • 2/3 cup (3 ounces) shredded Gruyere cheese
  • Generous 1/8 teaspoon each hot red pepper flakes
  • Generous 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Generous 1/4 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 12 saltines, coarsely crumbled

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a shallow 1 1/2 quart baking dish, and add cooked pasta.

2. In a blender or food processor combine egg, milk, and garlic, and process 3 seconds. Add onion, cheeses, peppers, salt, and paprika, and blend 10 seconds. Turn into dish, folding into macaroni. Casserole could be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 24 hours at this point.

3. To bake, bring casserole close to room temperature. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Coat crackers with butter and spread over top of casserole. Bake about 20 to 25 minutes, or until thick yet creamy. If top is not golden, slip under broiler for a minute. Remove from oven, let stand about 5 minutes, and serve.

Prep time: 
15 minutes, plust time to cook pasta
Cook time: 
25 minutes
Total time: 
40 minutes
Yield: 
4 servings and doubles easily
  • Oatmeal for breakfast will make you happier, and three other tips

    "The happiest people in the world interact about 7 hours a day," says Dan Buettner, author of Thrive. "They don't just wake up in the morning and schedule 7 hours of interaction. A lot of it happens to revolve around food and the rituals that surround food." Buettner circled the globe in search of the world's happiest populations -- he shares four tips with The Splendid Table.

Top Recipes

Lynne's Mailbox

What is the best way to hard boil an egg?

Dear Lynne, Why is it so difficult to hard boil an egg? I get a green ring around the yolk, or I peel the egg and take half the white with it.