Mac and Cheese Primavera

mac and cheese primavera in a large white pan

 The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Servings: 6 servings
  • Yield: 1 pan

Mac and cheese primavera has all the creaminess and cheesiness of your favorite decadent mac and cheese with a fresh kick of bright, spring vegetables. You'll feel indulgent while digging into this delicious giant pan of pasta and may also finally get your kids to eat their vegetables for once. This is a mac and cheese for those who love creamier cheese sauces. The gouda and fontina create a beautiful luscious sauce that isn’t gooey or stringy.

This is a very versatile dish—sub in asparagus, tomatoes, or any other fresh seasonal vegetables or incorporate some grilled chicken for a complete meal in a pan.

Ingredients

  • For the Vegetables:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups broccoli florets (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup shredded yellow squash
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • For the Pasta and Sauce:
  • 1 pound dry pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon 
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded gouda cheese
  • 1 cup shredded fontina cheese

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Prepare the Vegetables

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    fresh vegetables in bowls
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan on medium-high heat. Add the broccoli first and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Then, add the carrots, zucchini, and squash. Saute for another 1 to 2 minutes and then add the peas and garlic. Turn the heat off and transfer the vegetables to a bowl.

    sauteed vegetables in a pan

Make the Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients for mac and cheese
  2. Wipe out the pan and add the 2 tablespoons of butter. Heat on medium-high heat until the butter has melted. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently until the butter is lightly golden.

    butter and flour sauteed in a pan
  3. Whisk in the heavy cream, chicken bouillon and water into the butter and flour mixture. Whisk until the mixture is hot, but not boiling.

    cheese sauce in a pan
  4. Lower the heat to medium-low. Whisk in the cream cheese and slowly add in the shredded cheese, whisking after each addition until the cheese is incorporated and the sauce is smooth.

    cheese sauce in a pan
  5. Cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente. Do not overcook. 

    Add more salt and pepper to the sauce to taste, followed by the pasta and toss to combine.

    mac and cheese in a pan
  6. Add in the vegetables and stir until completely combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

    mac and cheese primavera

Recipe Tips

  • You can make this vegetarian by subbing the chicken bouillon for vegetable bouillon. The bouillon really ups the flavor of the macaroni and cheese. 
  • Do not substitute milk for the heavy cream. It curdles much more easily and will not create the same flavor or texture. 
  • Add more heavy cream if needed to create more sauciness.