Grown-Up Mac N Cheese

Don’t let the “Grown-Up” part scare you off. My kids eat this just as fast as the boxed stuff. There are just a few ingredient upgrades,

Grown-Up Mac N Cheese

Remember mac n cheese with hot dogs and peas as a kid? In this version, hotdogs are upgraded to andouille sausage and parmesan cheese makes an entrance. Don't pass on the peas.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6


  • 4 qts water
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 3 cups elbow macaroni
  • 3-4 links andouille sausage
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 oz finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 oz cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 8 oz coursely grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups frozen peas


  • Add the salt and water to a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Place the oven rack 6–8" from the heat source. Preheat the broiler.
  • Add the pasta to the pot and cook, uncovered, for 1 minute less than the instructions on the box, stirring occasionally. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water.
  • Preheat a Cast Iron Skillet or oven-safe pan over medium heat for 5 minutes. Slice the sausage into even rounds. Add the oil to the skillet, then cook the sausage for about 4–6 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.
  • While the sausage is cooking, combine half of the Parmesan with the breadcrumbs; set aside.
  • When the sausage is cooked, remove it from the skillet. Make a roux by whisking the flour into the oil until there are no lumps and cook for 1–2 minutes. Add a tbsp or two more oil if the roux is too dry.
  • Slowly whisk in the milk, cream, cream cheese, and rub. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook until slightly thickened, about 3–5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  • Working in batches, whisk in the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses until they are fully melted. Add the reserved pasta water to thin out the sauce.
  • Return the sausage to the pan. Stir in the cooked pasta and peas. Top with the panko mixture and broil for about 1–2 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are toasted (watch carefully, as they can burn quickly).

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