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Mac and Cheese…and Panko

Posted by in Step-by-Step Recipes

I continue to love, adore, and revere panko.

Panko are Japanese breadcrumbs, and are lighter and flakier than regular breadcrumbs. They absorb less oil, too, so after baking or frying they still have an incredibly crunchy texture.

Here’s what I really love: topping casseroles with panko breadcrumbs. They’re the modern day crushed potato chips or corn flakes. I make a zucchini and tomato casserole that’s absolutely transformed by the crunch of panko. I once made an Eggplant Parmesan with panko that pretty much changed my entire life. Just check out this list of recipes on Tasty Kitchen that use panko break crumbs…its magic can’t be denied!

Panko Recipes on Tasty Kitchen

Baked pastas are probably my favorite things to top with Panko. As perfectly delicious as they are on their own, the little crunch (and subtle flavor) that panko crumbs bring is such a treat. Try it on your favorite baked pasta dish; you’ll see what I mean!

Here’s a good, basic Mac & Cheese dish that’s perfect for your Labor Day potluck. Topped with beautiful tomatoes and panko crumbs, it’s pretty, crunchy…and will make you swoon.

Start by grating a pound of cheese. I’m using cheddar and Fontina, but you can use any combination of cheese you’d like. (You can even throw in some Gorgonzola or goat cheese. Yum.)


In a skillet melt 1/2 stick of butter over medium-low heat.


Sprinkle 1/4 cup of flour over the melted butter.


Whisk the flour into the butter until it’s totally combined.


Next, pour in 2 1/2 cups of milk.


Measure a couple of teaspoons of mustard powder.


Dump it in, and whisk, cooking the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes or until it starts to deepen in color. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and plenty of black pepper.


The mixture will be thick enough to coat a spoon.


Throw in the cheese!


Stir it together until the cheese melts.


Throw in the cooked pasta and stir it together.


Now rub the bottom of a baking dish with butter.


Pour the pasta in the dish…


And smooth it out to even the surface.


Now grab the package of panko crumbs…


And coat the surface generously! I’m not talking a tablespoon here, folks. I’m talking a bunch. You want to taste that crunch!


Now, slice up some Roma tomatoes. Not too thin—you’ll need them to hold together during the baking process.


Arrange them neatly over the surface of the dish.


Pretty! Now sprinkle the tomatoes lightly with salt and pepper.


Now add another layer of panko crumbs. Trust me. You want the tomatoes to be crunchy, too!

Now bake it at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. At the end, turn on the broiler and let it brown the top a little more. Watch it the whole time, though! You don’t want to burn this beauty.

And it is a beauty.


Look at the gorgeous topping!


What I love about this, too, is that the tomatoes make it easy to divide portions. Every portion gets a tomato!

I love it when the world makes sense.


And I love this macaroni and cheese.

Throw some panko crumbs onto your next pasta or vegetable casserole. They really change things up.


Here’s a link to the printable. Make it for Labor Day. Speaking from experience, it’s almost more delicious at room temperature!

Mac and Cheese…and Panko


This is the last in a series of posts featuring Kikkoman panko crumbs (though it will hardly be the last time I use them!) Special thanks to Kikkoman for sponsoring this series.


Comments are closed for this recipe.

Kendra on 11.26.2010

Oh no, link is not firing!

SarahG on 10.11.2010

need a recipe! :) the link doesn’t work.

Gail on 10.2.2010

how much pasta, doesn’t say

Gail on 10.2.2010

Does anyone know how much pasta to use ? Says to dump in pasta but how much?

Sarah on 9.26.2010

The link didn’t work for me either! :-(