‘The Pioneer Woman’: Ree Drummond’s Mac and Cheese Primavera Is Where Comfort Food Meets Healthy

Food Network superstar Ree Drummond knows how to cook for both kids and adults. Her recipe for Mac and Cheese Primavera keeps everyone happy with the cheesy goodness of melted cheddar cheese on silky pasta, along with good-for-you veggies.

Here’s The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for mac and cheese, primavera style.

'The Pioneer Woman' star Ree Drummond
‘The Pioneer Woman’ star Ree Drummond |
Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The Pioneer Woman Magazine

Drummond recently published her latest book

The television personality published her newest book called Frontier Follies at the end of 2020. This memoir of her life with her family on their Oklahoma ranch is written in her trademark conversational style, with humorous observations and reflections throughout.

“In this book of real-life stories from the ranch, I talk about marital spats, parenting neuroses, run-ins with wildlife, ER visits, triumphs, tribulations, love, loss…and some unexpected new developments in our lives,” she writes. “This book is both a love letter and a laugh letter, and I hope it makes you smile…and maybe get to know me a little better.”

What Drummond’s fans love most about the television chef is her authenticity. She is incredibly frank about her marriage, her children, and her life in general.

“I talk about marital moments between Ladd and me, childbirth experiences, the challenge of country kids becoming teenagers, embarrassing moments, gross stories about ranch life, and poignant reflections about the kids leaving home and losing my mother-in-law,” she added.

What you’ll need for Drummond’s Mac and Cheese Primavera

To make the popular television chef’s pasta recipe you’ll need:

  • 1 pound of medium pasta shells
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 cup of broccoli florets 
  • 2 scallions, sliced and separated into white and green portions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces 
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine 
  • 2 cups whole milk 
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream 
  • 1 cup frozen peas 
  • 1 cup shredded Fontina cheese 
  • 1 cup shredded white Cheddar 
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch 

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How to make ‘Pioneer Woman’ Ree Drummond’s Mac and Cheese Primavera

Easy and quick, you’ll make this recipe again and again for a fool-proof weeknight meal. The combination of pasta and cheese will keep those diners craving comfort food happy and the hearty vegetables give the dish extra fiber that will keep appetites satisfied longer.

Before anything else, Drummond instructs, cook your pasta according to the package’s directions and set it aside.

Melt the butter along with the oil in a pot. Add all of your vegetables (scallion whites here), season and stir for a few minutes. Add the wine and let it simmer for about a minute. Now add the milk and cream until it’s mixed through and stir in the peas.

In a bowl, combine the cheeses along with the cornstarch.

While the sauce is simmering, add the cheeses and combine until they’re completely melted and blended. Let the sauce thicken and combine it with the pasta until everything is thoroughly mixed. Give it a taste and add seasoning if necessary. Top with the green scallion portions, serve, and enjoy.