Lighter Three-Cheese Mac

lighter mac and cheese

“Light-er” is the key word in this title – it is still Mac and Cheese! It is lighter because of the use of Neufchatel cheese and 1% milk. I tried to make it a little healthier by using whole wheat rotini and adding extra broccoli. This dish is a comfort food crowd pleaser. My son exclaimed “Now this is something I want to eat again!!” We ate it with a big green salad. This recipe is from Everyday Food.

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pound short tubular pasta, such as cavatappi
  • 2 cups broccoli, cut into florets, stalks peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 ounces Neufchatel cheese
  • 3 cups 1% milk
  • 1 1/4 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (5 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, toasted (about 7-10 minutes in a 350 degree oven)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes less than package instructions. Add broccoli and cook 3 minutes more. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pan over medium-high. Add onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and ground mustard. Sauté until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add Neufchatel, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until incorporated. Gradually whisk in milk, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in cheddar and Parmesan, then add pasta and broccoli. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer to an 8-inch square baking dish and bake until bubbling in center, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with panko, and serve.

lighter mac and cheese

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About Josette@thebrookcook

I live in Stony Brook, New York on Long Island. I love garlic and baking. My hobby (and love) is to try new recipes. My favorite recipe resources include The New York Times, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, and Martha Stewart Living. Enjoy!

2 responses to “Lighter Three-Cheese Mac

  1. Baba.

    I made Pastitsio today. It was very good. I made one change to the recipe.
    I did not drain diced tomatoes. I felt there was not enough liquid to simmer the meat mixure.
    I allowed the excess liquid to evaporate. Love, Baba.

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