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Cajun Mac and Cheese

Cajun Mac and Cheese

1 pound elbow macaroni or other short pasta

2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for the baking dish

1 package (13-ounce) kielbasa, thinly sliced

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, sliced

Kosher salt and pepper

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups whole milk

4 ounces low-fat cream cheese

2 tsp. Cajun seasoning

8 ounces (2 cups) extra-sharp Cheddar, shredded

8 ounces (2 cups) Gruyère, shredded


Heat oven to 425ºF. Oil a shallow 3-quart baking dish or six 2-cup ramekins. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the kielbasa, about 1 minute per side; set aside. Wipe out the skillet; heat the remaining tablespoon oil in the same skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until very tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetable mixture and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the cream cheese and Cajun seasoning until blended. Stir in the Cheddar and Gruyère and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cheese is melted and the mixture has slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Toss the pasta with the cheese sauce, fold in the kielbasa, and transfer to the prepared baking dish. Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Serves: 6.

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