Summer Veggie Mac and Cheese (Stovetop)|

Summer Vegetable Mac and Cheese (Stovetop)

Start with classic cheddar mac and cheese. Add summer vegetables like zucchini, corn, and tomatoes, and fresh basil. Finish with breadcrumbs toasted on the stove. No need to turn your oven on.
Course Dinner, Main Dish
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6
Author Tara Leung


  • 1 pound whole wheat shells, or other short-cut pasta of choice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, cut into half moons
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 ears corn - cut off kernels
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, plus additional for garnish
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 4 cups 2% milk
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 12 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese (or vegetarian alternative)


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. (While you are waiting, continue to next steps.) Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain and leave pasta in colander.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, zucchini, and tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium. Add corn kernels and cook 3 more minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons basil. Remove from heat.
  3. In the same pot used to cook the pasta, melt ½ cup butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring almost constantly. Start adding milk, a splash at a time. Stir so the mixture is completely smooth before adding another splash of milk. After you’ve gotten through the first cup of milk, you can start adding it in ½ cup increments until all the milk is incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. While the sauce is simmering, toast breadcrumbs. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and cook, stirring very often, until toasted, about 5 minutes. Watch closely so breadcrumbs don’t burn.
  5. Remove sauce from heat. Stir in both cheeses and stir until all cheese has melted and sauce is smooth. Add drained pasta and vegetables and stir to combine.
  6. To serve: Divide pasta between serving plates and top with toasted bread crumbs and more basil.