Tortellini Mac and Cheese

No such thing as too much cheese.

Tortellini Mac and Cheese
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
25 mins

Creamy, rich, and decadent, our Tortellini Mac and Cheese is the dish you never knew you needed. With a medley of cream cheese, Cheddar, and fontina, this cheesy dish was not made for the faint of heart (or those who are lactose-intolerant) in mind.

In this pasta dish, we combine medium shell pasta and cheese tortellini; the soft, fluffy tortellini and tender shells really hold onto the cheesy, creamy sauce. Our Test Kitchen prefers the texture of refrigerated pasta (such as Buitoni) in this dish, so skip the frozen kind. We love this dish with three-cheese tortellini, but if you're looking to add some protein, go for a meat-filled variety. With nutty aged cheddar, creamy fontina, and a bit of edge from Dijon mustard, this sauce hits all the right notes. Cream cheese is the ticket to serious creaminess, creating a velvety sauce that coats each pocket of pasta.

As if this dish could get any better, we top it with a shower of toasted breadcrumbs, finishing it all under the broiler until the breadcrumbs turn golden-brown and crisp up nicely. Top with chives for a pop of freshness and serve alongside roasted asparagus or a green salad. This might be our best tortellini recipe, and it's an utter delight.


  • 8 ounces uncooked medium shell pasta

  • 20 ounces uncooked cheese tortellini

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

  • 3 cups whole milk

  • 4 ounces cream cheese

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • 4 ounces white Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

  • 4 ounces fontina cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high. Add shell pasta; return to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, 9 minutes. Add tortellini. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shells and tortellini are al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain; set aside.

  2. While pasta cooks, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a broiler-safe Dutch oven over medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter smells nutty, about 2 minutes. Add flour. Cook, whisking constantly, until toasted and light brown, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; gradually whisk in milk. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until mixture can coat the back of a wooden spoon, 5 minutes. Add cream cheese, mustard, salt, and pepper. Cook, whisking constantly, until smooth, 1 minute. Gradually add Cheddar and fontina, whisking between additions, until smooth, 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir drained pastas into sauce in Dutch oven; toss to fully coat. Set aside.

  3. Preheat oven to broil with rack about 8 inches from heat source. Microwave remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small microwavable bowl on MEDIUM (50% power) until melted, about 30 seconds. Add panko to melted butter; toss to coat. Sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture. Broil until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes, checking often to prevent burning. Top with chives before serving.

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