Ruben Santana Mac and Cheese Recipe

Discover Ruben Santana's delectable mac and cheese recipe! Creamy, cheesy goodness with a twist. Perfect comfort food for any occasion. Try it now!

Ruben Santana Mac and Cheese

    Ruben Santana Mac and Cheese

  • Cuisine: American
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Servings: 4
  • Calories: 550 calories

Ruben Santana's mac and cheese recipe is a delightful rendition of the classic comfort food that has been enjoyed by countless families for generations. Santana's take on this beloved dish offers a balance of simplicity and indulgence, creating a creamy and cheesy macaroni dish that's both satisfying and flavorful.

The recipe features a harmonious blend of ingredients, including elbow macaroni, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and grated Parmesan cheese. This combination ensures a rich and savory cheese sauce that coats each macaroni piece, delivering a comforting and nostalgic taste. Santana's method involves creating a roux, a mixture of butter and flour, to thicken the sauce and enhance its texture.

What sets Ruben Santana's mac and cheese apart is the addition of a buttery breadcrumb topping. This adds a contrasting crunch to the creamy pasta underneath, elevating the overall eating experience. A sprinkle of paprika adds a touch of warmth and color to the dish, enhancing its visual appeal.

With a relatively short prep time and cook time of around 50 minutes, this recipe is well-suited for busy weeknights or gatherings with friends and family. The estimated calorie count of approximately 550-600 calories per serving reflects a satisfying meal that can be enjoyed in moderation.

Santana's mac and cheese falls within the American cuisine category, celebrating the comforting flavors that are often associated with home-cooked meals. Whether it's served as a main dish or a side, this mac and cheese recipe embodies the essence of comfort food while carrying a touch of culinary creativity, making it a staple on tables where deliciousness and nostalgia come together.


Dive into a world of culinary delight with Ruben Santana's irresistible mac and cheese recipe. Uncover the secrets to crafting the ultimate comfort dish!


  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 pinch paprika

Method Instructions

  1. Cook macaroni according to the package directions. Drain.
  2. In a saucepan, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Stir in enough flour to make a roux. Add milk to roux slowly, stirring constantly. Stir in cheeses, and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick. Put macaroni in large casserole dish, and pour sauce over macaroni. Stir well.
  3. Melt butter or margarine in a skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and brown. Spread over the macaroni and cheese to cover. Sprinkle with a little paprika.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Serve. Enjoy!

Keep in mind that this recipe might not be exactly as Ruben Santana's, but it's a classic mac and cheese recipe that you can try. Feel free to adjust it according to your preferences!

Recipe Video

Ruben Santana Mac and Cheese

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Recipe Tags: Ruben Santana Mac and Cheese, Ruben Santana Mac and Cheese Recipe, Recipe


You can serve Ruben Santana's mac and cheese as a delicious main dish or as a side to complement other items on your menu. Here's how to serve it:

  1. Main Dish: Portion out the mac and cheese onto individual plates or bowls. This hearty and cheesy dish is filling on its own, making it a perfect choice for a satisfying lunch or dinner. You can pair it with a simple green salad or steamed vegetables to add some freshness and balance to the meal.
  2. Side Dish: If you're serving the mac and cheese as a side, consider pairing it with proteins like grilled chicken, baked ham, or roasted turkey. The creamy mac and cheese contrasts well with the savory flavors of meats, creating a harmonious combination. It's also a great addition to potluck gatherings, barbecues, or holiday feasts.
  3. Variations: To add extra flair, you can customize the dish by incorporating ingredients like cooked bacon bits, sautéed onions, diced tomatoes, or even cooked lobster or shrimp for a gourmet touch.
  4. Presentation: Garnish the mac and cheese with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley or additional grated Parmesan cheese just before serving. This adds a pop of color and enhances the visual appeal of the dish.


  1. Cheese Selection: Experiment with different types of cheeses to create your desired flavor profile. While the recipe suggests cheddar and Parmesan, you can also try adding a bit of mozzarella, Gouda, or fontina for extra creaminess and complexity.
  2. Cooking the Roux: When making the roux (butter and flour mixture), ensure that you cook it for a couple of minutes over medium heat to remove the raw flour taste. Stir constantly to prevent it from burning.
  3. Cheese Sauce: Gradually add the milk to the roux while stirring continuously. This will help prevent lumps from forming in the cheese sauce.
  4. Cooking Pasta: Cook the pasta just until it's al dente (firm to the bite), as it will continue cooking in the oven. Overcooking the pasta can result in a mushy texture in the final dish.
  5. Breadcrumb Topping: When making the breadcrumb topping, you can add a pinch of salt and pepper for additional flavor. Panko breadcrumbs are a great choice for a light and crispy topping.
  6. Customization: Feel free to add your favorite seasonings or spices to the cheese sauce for extra flavor. Nutmeg, mustard powder, or a dash of hot sauce can enhance the taste.
  7. Mix-Ins: Consider adding cooked and chopped vegetables like broccoli or peas to make the dish more wholesome. For a protein boost, diced cooked ham or grilled chicken can be excellent additions.
  8. Baking Time: Keep an eye on the mac and cheese while it's baking. You want the top to be golden brown and the cheese sauce to be bubbly. If the top is browning too quickly, you can cover the dish with foil to prevent burning.
  9. Portion Control: The calorie estimate is based on a serving size, so be mindful of portion sizes if you're watching your calorie intake.
  10. Make-Ahead: You can prepare the mac and cheese ahead of time and refrigerate it. When ready to serve, reheat it in the oven at a low temperature to maintain its texture.

Ingredient Substitutes

  • Cheese: If you want to change up the cheese flavors, you can substitute the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses with other varieties like mozzarella, Gouda, Monterey Jack, or fontina. Each cheese will bring a unique taste and texture to the dish.
  • Macaroni: While the recipe calls for elbow macaroni, you can use other types of pasta like penne, rotini, or shells. Whole wheat or gluten-free pasta can also be used for dietary preferences.
  • Milk: If you're looking for a lighter option, you can use low-fat or skim milk instead of whole milk. For a creamier result, you can use half-and-half or a combination of milk and heavy cream.
  • Butter: You can replace butter with margarine or olive oil in the roux and breadcrumb topping. Keep in mind that using olive oil might alter the flavor slightly.
  • Flour: Instead of all-purpose flour, you can use whole wheat flour or a gluten-free flour blend if you're avoiding gluten.
  • Breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs are often used for their light and crispy texture. If you prefer, you can use regular breadcrumbs or crushed crackers for the topping.
  • Seasonings: Feel free to customize the seasonings to your taste. Mustard powder, nutmeg, garlic powder, or dried herbs like thyme or oregano can be added to enhance the flavor.
  • Protein Additions: To make the dish heartier, you can add cooked and diced chicken, turkey, ham, or bacon. You can also incorporate cooked vegetables like broccoli, peas, or spinach.
  • Toppings: Instead of paprika, you can use chili powder, cayenne pepper, or even a sprinkle of your favorite dried herbs for a different finishing touch.
  • Gluten-Free: If you need a gluten-free version, use gluten-free pasta and flour, and ensure that all other ingredients are certified gluten-free.


Indulge in the comforting embrace of Ruben Santana's mac and cheese creation. Elevate your culinary skills and savor the warmth of homemade goodness. Happy cooking!

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