Olivia Piepmeier


Categories: pasta main
A watercolor illustration of a green dutch oven over gas flames with a wooden spoon in it, stirring something orange. There are little lines at the top of the spoon's handle to suggest stirring.

inspired by Food52


  • 1 pound spiral pasta
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 16 ounces kimchi, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons AP flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon diamond crystal salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard powder
  • pepper
  • 3/4 pound extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/3 pound Gruyère, grated
  • 3 tablespoons pasta water (reserved from cooking)
  • chopped scallions
  • A pound of broccoli, roasted, to put in near the end (30 minutes at 400F)


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to the package instructions, until al dente.
  2. Reserve around 3 tablespoons of the pasta water in a cup, then drain completely and set aside.
  3. While all that’s going on, in a Dutch oven or a big pot, melt butter over medium-high heat and coat the bottom of the pot.
  4. Add in the kimchi and sauté for 5-7 minutes, or until the cabbage has softened and the liquid reduced by about half.
  5. Add the flour and whisk with sautéed kimchi until completely combined (roux!).
  6. Gradually add in your milk and continue to whisk.
  7. Set the heat to low and keep whisking, remembering to gently scrape up the flavors at bottom of the pot.
  8. Add in salt, mustard powder, and pepper and continue whisking until the sauce thickens.
  9. Gradually add in your cheeses and stir with a wooden spoon until all have been melted and the sauce is smooth.
  10. Add the cooked pasta into the sauce, mixing until all has been combined.
  11. Add in your reserved pasta water to ensure the pasta bonds with the sauce.
  12. Turn off the heat.
  13. Stir in chopped scallions and broccoli.


Velveeta Shells and Cheese will always hold a place in my heart and in my pantry, but this is what I want when I want mac & cheese. It’s rich and comforting, with a subtle zing from the kimchi and a bang of green from the broccoli and scallions (green things have a taste to you too, right?). It’s relatively quick and easy to make even with it feeling fancy. Leftovers are great but there will be some separation with all that cheese and the kimchi juice - just mix it in and ignore it.