Panko-Topped Mac and Cheese

Mashed cooked cauliflower or squash is added to this delicious take on macaroni and cheese.

​1 1/2 cups (375 mL) panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
2 tbsp (25 mL) salted butter, melted
1/4 cup (50 mL) salted butter
1/4 cup (50 mL) all-purpose flour
4 cups (1 L) milk (2%), heated
1 cup (250 mL) mashed cooked cauliflower or squash
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp (1 mL) cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) nutmeg
1 cup (250 mL) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup (250 mL) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups (500 mL) macaroni, cooked, rinsed and drained
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
2. To prepare panko topping, combine panko and 2 tbsp (25 mL) melted butter; set aside.
3. Melt 1/4 cup (50 mL) butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until bubbly.  Add flour and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
4. Add heated milk, 1 cup (250 mL) at a time, whisking until mixture is smooth. Bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
6. Add cauliflower, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and nutmeg; stir to combine.  Add cheeses, stirring until melted.  Remove from heat.
7. Add cooked macaroni and stir to combine.
8. Spoon macaroni mixture into a greased 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) baking dish.  Sprinkle with panko topping.
9. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until macaroni mixture is bubbly and panko topping is golden brown.  Serves 6.
Nutritional analysis per serving:
479 calories, 28.7 g fat, 20 g protein, 37 g carbohydrate, 1.8 g fibre, 607 mg sodium


Cook's Note: For a tw​ist, add 1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped fresh basil, oregano or parsley to the panko topping.

If desired, macaroni mixture may be divided among greased heatproof ramekins and topped with panko topping. Bake until macaroni mixture is bubbly and panko topping is golden brown.

Last updated on March 23, 2018