Shrimp Mac and Cheese elevates this childhood favorite to a gourmet recipe that kids and adults will love! Fancy enough for a special occasion, easy enough to make every day.
Have I mentioned that a macaroni and cheese obsession has been going on at our house…since I can’t remember when? Yep. We have it
several 4-5 times a month…at least. And, we’re not talking about the microwave version with questionable cheese. It’s the real deal! It doesn’t take much longer to make either.
This is our special occasion version that incorporates lobster-like rock shrimp to take this recipe over-the-top.
It’s quick to make because the shrimp is boiled, along with the pasta. Another option is to cook it on the stove-top. Check out this technique in Rock Shrimp in Lemon Butter Garlic Sauce (except you won’t need the extra sauce.)
The result is a creamy, delicious gourmet mac and cheese!
Clean-Eating Swaps for Gourmet Mac and Cheese
Since this family favorite is here to stay, my only choice in the matter was to join the party and make it follow the guidelines for clean-eating. One easy switch was exchanging white pasta for a high fiber alternative. To that end, I have boxes and boxes (and boxes) of high fiber pasta shells in my pantry so I can whip up a batch at a moment’s notice.
We also used whole wheat pastry flour to make the roux and used whole milk products for milk, butter and cheese. No short-cuts with pre-shredded cheese either.
The result is absolutely decadent, “adult” gourmet mac and cheese. It may not be the lowest calorie recipe I’ve ever made. But, it is one of the most delicious and has a place in a clean-eating diet. (Insert very big smile!)
I’d take this over sugary dessert any day of the week!
How to Make Shrimp Mac and Cheese
This mac and cheese recipe follows the typical process of preparing a roux, adding milk and spices and cooking until it thickens. Sharp cheddar and Parmesan cheeses are stirred in and then the entire cheesy mixture coats pasta shells and shrimp. The final dish will make you swoon!
We used rock shrimp, but any type will work. In case you’re not familiar with rock shrimp, it tastes a bit like lobster and looks like a tiny lobster too. Sometimes, I refer to this recipe as my fake-out lobster mac and cheese!
To save time and a pot, we cooked the pasta and shrimp at the same time. However, they can be cooked separately. Rock shrimp cooks very quickly and can be cooked on the stove-top or broiled too. See Spicy Shrimp and Cauliflower Grits and Shrimp Zoodles for a quick stove-top method to cook shrimp and change the spices according to your tastes.
Either way, serve it on a special dish and savor every bite with someone you love!
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Shrimp Mac and Cheese Recipe
- 1 pound pasta whole wheat, elbows or small shells
- 1 pound shrimp we used rock shrimp; peeled, deveined and tail off
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 3 Tablespoons flour whole wheat pastry flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
- Cook pasta according to package directions, adding about 1 cup of additional water and adding the shrimp to the pot during the last 3 minutes of cooking.
- Drain the pasta and shrimp and set aside.
- In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Cook for about one minute to form a roux.
- Add milk, salt, white pepper and dry mustard to and stir to combine.
- Raise heat to medium-high and continue whisking until the mixture just begins to bubble and sauce has thickened. Remove from heat.
- Add cheeses to the pot and stir until melted.
- Add pasta and shrimp to and stir to thoroughly coat with cheese.