Streetbird’s Return of the Mac

This easy and delicious mac and cheese recipe by starchef Marcus Samuelsson features three kinds of cheese, including cream cheese for that extra creaminess. Slideshow: More Macaroni and Cheese Recipes 

Streetbird’s Return of the Mac
Photo: © Dana Cowin
Total Time:
45 mins


  • 1 pound penne

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 4 1/2 ounces cream cheese (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon)

  • 3/4 cup grated Grana Padano cheese

  • 1/2 pound aged white cheddar cheese, such as Grafton (2 cups shredded)

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs

  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced


  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until just al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain well. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Whisk in the flour until a paste forms; continue whisking until the paste is light golden. Whisk in the heavy cream and milk, a little at a time at first to avoid lumps. Bring to a boil and cook, whisking constantly, until smooth and thickened, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and whisk in the cream cheese, Grana Padano and 1 cup of the cheddar. Season with 1 teaspoon salt.

  3. Preheat the broiler. In a bowl, toss the pasta with the hot cheese sauce. Transfer to the buttered dish. Top evenly with the remaining 1 cup of cheddar and the breadcrumbs; season with salt and pepper. Broil 6 inches from the heat for 4 to 6 minutes, until the crumbs are browned and the cheese sauce is bubbling. Top with the scallions and serve.

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