Oh, mac 'n' cheese, how many ways do we love thee? In this rendition, we foster mac's smoky side with smoked Gouda and pique his spicy side with horseradish-laced crunchy saltines. To make things even better, you don't have to boil the pasta. It cooks right in the sauce. Genius.

Serves 6-8


  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus 1 Tbsp. melted
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, tough stems discarded, coarsely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded smoked Gouda
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 6 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 10 saltines, crushed
  • 2 tsp. prepared horseradish


    Preheat oven to 400°.

    Heat a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat and melt the 4 tablespoons of butter. When the butter sizzles, add the onion and sauté until it softens, about 2 minutes. Add the Swiss chard, 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper and sauté until the chard leaves wilt, about 3 minutes.

    Add the flour to the pan and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Add the milk, half-and-half and mustard and cook, stirring and scraping up any flour that may have stuck to the bottom of the pan, until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Add the Gouda and cook, stirring, until the cheese melts, about 1 minute. Add the vegetable broth and macaroni, pressing down to make sure the pasta is submerged in the liquid. Cover the pan with aluminum foil, or an oven-safe lid, transfer to the oven and bake until the pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.

    Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the saltines, horseradish and 1 tablespoon of melted butter.

    Remove the pasta from the oven, remove the foil and sprinkle the saltine mixture over the top. Carefully move the oven rack to the second highest position and preheat the broiler. Broil until the topping is browned, about 2 minutes.

    Scoop the pasta into heated bowls. Serve hot. (Or, if you want it to stay really hot, just place the pan on the table and eat with two forks like my husband and I do.)

    From One Pan, Two Plates: Vegetarian Suppers by Carla Snyder; photographs by Jody Horton (Chronicle Books, 2016).

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