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Ukrainian Style Mac & Cheese (VIDEO)

Updated: Jan 11


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mac and cheese on white plate

I think you won't find one place on the globe where this comfort food wouldn't be welcome. Every nation has some kind of pasta and cheese combo.

This is my way of doing this dish. This is a very nostalgic dish for me because I grew up with this particular recipe. My mom made it at least once a week. The pasta would change depending on what she had in her pantry cabinet that day and the fat content would vary. Sometimes, she would even use pork fat (lard) with tiny bits of pork cracklings swimming here and there. What would always be the constant ingredient was fresh farmers cheese in great amounts along with lots of fried onions.

macaroni in a big pot

Mac and cheese Ukrainian style is a perfect side dish for complimenting any protein, or a great meal paired with a side salad. Soft and flavorful cheese that can melt in your mouth and after being nicely heated can produce stringiness to the cheese like when eating a delicious pizza. It's a dream pasta, and something I crave every once in a while. I hope this dish will provide many of you with a smile bringing back your childhood memories too.


This is a nearly-instant, from-scratch macaroni and cheese-style recipe. All you have to do is sauté onion in butter until it is a deep brown color, boil macaroni or any other pasta of your choice and then mix with farmer's cheese that is homemade or store-bought. Season the dish with a little salt and black pepper, and dig in.


WHAT DO I LIKE ABOUT THIS UKRAINIAN STYLE MAC & CHEESE?

  • I absolutely love the buttery caramelized onion in this dish. The pairing of the farmer's cheese with pasta can be given a pop of color by sprinkling fresh herbs such as parsley or chives!

  • It's comfort food and can be enjoyed by all ages! Yes, kid friendly!

  • Super easy to make that doesn't take any special equipment and uses up very little counter space during preparation!

  • Inexpensive too!

  • You don't even have to shred cheese for this recipe!


WHAT ABOUT THE CHEESE FOR THIS UKRAINIAN STYLE MAC & CHEESE?

In a perfect world, you should use cheese called tvorog homemade or store bought. Here is the post where you can learn a little bit more about. It's the type of cheese that is traditionally used in this Ukrainian recipe. It has slightly larger curds than what we’re familiar with here in the U.S. It’s very similar to dry cottage cheese. However, this dish is very forgiving so any kind of farmer's cheese will do. Goodnews; these days you don't have to run to a whole foods type store to find farmer's cheese, because pretty much any supermarket has it stocked.

CHEESE ON A PAN

HERE ARE FEW MORE RECIPES SIMILAR TO UKRAINIAN STYLE MAC & CHEESE: Stuffed Apples with Farmer's Cheese

stuffed apples
dumplings
pancakes and strawberries

YOU MAY ASK ABOUT UKRAINIAN STYLE MAC & CHEESE:

  • Can I use olive oil in this dish? Sure, any type of fat is ok. Try olive oil and butter, my favorite combo when it comes to the flavor, but my mom didn't have olive oil.

  • How to reheat leftovers? Simply place mac & cheese into a skillet then add a little bit of water, cover and on low heat simmer for 2 minutes. Garnish with herbs again if you like.

  • What else can I add to this dish? I like to add frozen peas, grilled chicken, cooked bacon, sautéed mushrooms, or really anything that you have leftover in your fridge.

  • What pasta is best here beside macaroni? Rigatoni, penne or ziti are beautiful options. I like more "grabby" pasta for this simple cheese and onion sauce.

  • Can I sub for gluten free? Absolutely, whatever is your choice, but I prefer lentil pasta vs chickpea because it feels less starchy to me. No worries, there are so many options.

Please checkout this recipe for vegan and gluten free option:

mac and cheese in a blue bowl

STEPS ON HOW TO MAKE IT MAC & CHEESE UKRAINIAN STYLE

  • First cook your onions in butter, until they are a nice golden color.

  • Cook pasta in salted water one minute shorter than the package requires.

  • Drain pasta and mix with onions, warm up the cheese on the same pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape all the fond that is left behind from frying onions. Add to the pasta & onion mixture.

  • Mix all together, garnish and enjoy!


Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Author: Inna of innichkachef.com

Servings: 4 as a meal or 6-8 as a side dish

ingredients for the dish

Ingredients

1 lb. macaroni pasta or other pasta (see note above)

1 lb. Farmer's cheese (I used homemade in the video)

1 large onion, chopped

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Salt, freshly ground pepper to taste


Directions

  • First, in a skillet set on medium heat, melt the butter and then add the onion.

  • Season the onion with salt and pepper. Stir once in a while, and cook until it is a nice golden brown color.

  • Meanwhile, in a large pot with salted water, cook the pasta one minute shorter than your package directions. Drain the water and pour the pasta back into the pot.

  • Add the fried onion and mix all together.

  • Place back pan on low heat and add cheese. With a wooden spoon, scrape all fond (fried onion bits) from the pan and mix all together. Slowly warm up (not burn) the cheese while incorporating all the flavors left behind from frying onions.

  • Pour the warm cheese into the pot with pasta and onions. Mix all together. Garnish if you desire with herbs. Serve.

macaroni in a pot

Enjoy immediately.

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