Beefy Mac and Cheese

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 35 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Cook: 25 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Nutrition Info
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Kosher salt

8 ounces medium pasta shells

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon chili powder

8 ounces ground beef

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup low-fat (1 percent) milk

2 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend (about 8 ounces)

2 tablespoons breadcrumbs (preferably panko)

2 scallions, thinly sliced


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and chili powder and stir until brick red, about 2 minutes. Add the beef and cook, stirring, until browned, 4 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spread the mixture in a 3-quart flameproof baking dish. Preheat the broiler. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the milk and reserved cooking water, bring to a simmer and cook, whisking, until thick, 2 minutes. Add 2 cups cheese, the cooked pasta and 3/4 teaspoon salt and stir until the cheese melts. Spread over the beef mixture. Mix the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and the breadcrumbs; sprinkle over the pasta mixture and broil until golden. Top with the scallions.