This is my mother’s macaroni and cheese and it’s my favorite. When I was a kid, I used to eat four or five helpings at one sitting! It doesn’t use the tradtional bechamel-type cheese sauce, and so is easier to make and slightly less rich. Serve with a tangy green salad.

  • Yield: 4-6 servings
  • Total: 90 minutes
  • Active: 30 minutes

Ingredients (10)

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 small to medium onion, chopped
  • 12 ounces medium shell pasta
  • 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (preferably Vermont), grated
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne red pepper
  • 2 cups lowfat milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup coarse breadcrumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Saute chopped onion in 1 tablespoon of the butter until soft and pale golden. Melt remaining butter and set aside.
  3. Heat several quarts of water to boiling. Boil pasta shells, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Don’t overcook, as they will cook further in the oven. Drain.
  4. In a large bowl, mix shells well with remaining ingredients except breadcrumbs and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Grease a baking dish big enough to hold it all and add pasta/cheese mixture, spreading out evenly. Top with breadcrumbs, sprinkle with melted butter, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until bubbly and top is brown. (Cooking time will depend on size of baking dish.)