Shrimp, Feta and Fresh Herb Mac and Cheese

Ever since discovering my love of Greek food last year, I have been all about feta cheese.  I like it on salads, I love it with shrimp – I just think it’s great.  When I ran across this version of mac and cheese that featured feta, I was instantly a fan.  The combination of the shrimp, lemon zest, and fresh herbs made for a unique spin on mac and cheese that sounded just perfect.  This was just as good as I was expecting, and I think the flavors make it ideal for spring.

I made  a few small changes to suit my own preferences, including reducing the amount of milk to produce a cheesier sauce and chopping up the shrimp so there was some in almost every bite.  I also decreased the amount of lemon zest because zesting two whole lemons just seemed like overkill, and I thought the lemon was still quite prominent even with my change (but in a good way, not a pucker-your-lips way).  Delish!

Shrimp, Feta and Fresh Herb Mac and Cheese

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1 lb. pasta shapes
1 lb. raw shrimp (31-40 ct.), peeled and deveined, cut in half (if desired)
10 oz. feta cheese, crumbled and divided
Zest of 1 lemon, divided
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped, divided
5 tbsp. butter, divided
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
2 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
8 oz. Gruyere cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Cook the pasta until al dente according to the package directions.  Drain well; set aside.  Add the raw shrimp to the warm pasta and toss together.  The heat from the pasta will partially cook the shrimp.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  In a small bowl, combine a handful of the feta, a pinch of the lemon zest, the panko, 2 teaspoons of the parsley and 1 tablespoon of the butter, melted.  Toss with a fork to combine; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat.  Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour  to form a paste.  Cook 1-2 minutes, whisking constantly, until light golden brown.  Whisk in the milk.  Continue to heat the mixture, stirring frequently, until it bubbles and thickens, about 5 minutes.  As soon as the sauce has thickened, remove from the heat and stir in the remaining feta, Gruyere, remaining parsley, remaining lemon zest, dill, salt and pepper.  Pour the mixture over the pasta and shrimp; toss well to coat.

Transfer the mixture to a lightly greased 2½ or 3-quart baking dish.  Sprinkle the breadcrumb-feta mixture evenly over the top.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbling.  Remove from the oven and let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

Source: adapted from The Perfect Pantry via the 30 Days, 30 Ways Mac and Cheese Blog

38 Responses

  1. I have to try this

  2. omg this looks so good!

  3. Wow – what an elegant and creative take on mac & cheese! I love feta, and it pairs so beautifully with shrimp. I will definitely have to make this.

  4. Holy heck! I have to make this ASAP.

  5. I have awarded you the “Beautiful Blog Award” over on my blog! Have a great day!!!

    Love your blog!

  6. Trying this tonight!!!

  7. Sadly, I have never tried feta cheese and I am very unfamiliar with Greek food. I need to branch out a little!! This looks delicious!!

  8. From one greek food lover to another, this looks AMAZING!!! Its bookmarked & will be happening SOON. Thanks for the great recipe!

  9. this looks yummy!!

  10. What a great combo. I could go for a big serving of this right now! If you like greek inspired dishes with feta you should try this:

  11. Does the panko go in with the other stuff in the second paragraph?

    As you can see, this sounds so good I have already imagined making it in my head. I just can’t find the panko in the recipe… I’m assuming it’s with the other stuff in paragraph two.

  12. My word, Annie!!! This is absolutely GORGEOUS and creamily wonderful. 🙂

  13. I love Mac & Cheese, I haven’t made one yet. Yours looks so good!

  14. Love this jazzed up mac and cheese!

  15. Hi Annie,

    While this dish looks great, I have a question about another one of your dishes, the baked fries. (I tried to go leave a comment there but it was closed because it was a part of a contest).

    Anyways, I made the fries this weekend and followed the directions exactly, but they took FOREVER in the oven. I’m talking 45 min at 475 degrees and while they were cooked, they looked like boiled potatoes. Eventually I gave up, at 50min i took them out and we ate them limp and soft and not really as fries.

    Can you please tell me what the problem could be? My oven temp has worked fine for everything else, so I don’t think it is that.



    • Zeze,
      If you really followed the recipe exactly, I’m not sure what to tell you. I wasn’t there watching so I have no idea what might have gone wrong. I know a lot of other readers and friends have made them successfully and loved them.

  16. That looks wonderful! You always come up with great posts.

  17. Great looking pasta dish, better than just “mac n cheese” 😉

    Excellent job!

  18. Looks great!!

  19. Hi Annie, could I adapt this dish to use frozen shrimp (since that is what we have on hand)? I guess it probably would work well in the oven? I hope its not a “stupid” question, but I don’t eat shrimp and my husband does, so I’m trying to make him happy 🙂

    • Hi Jessica,
      Not a stupid question at all! You can always use frozen shrimp, and in fact that is what I use. I suppose I meant “raw” in the sense that they have not been cooked yet. For me to get raw, good quality shrimp here in IN would cost me an arm, a leg, and a 45 minute drive one way. Just avoid the pre-cooked shrimp. In my experience, if I add them to a dish that cooks any length of time, they end up overdone and rubbery. Hope that helps!

  20. I could certainly go for a shrimp and feta mac n cheese!

  21. YUM! I made this last night and we LOVED it.

  22. This was AMAZING! Love your blog!

  23. Hi,
    I have a question. Can you freeze these mac’n’ cheese leftovers and reheat in the oven, or will that affect the texture? I live alone, so even delicious dishes get tiresome after a week.

    • Hi Sasha,
      I really don’t know. I am assuming that the texture would be affected a bit by freezing, judging by what I’ve heard from others about freezing mac and cheese in general, but I’ve never tried it myself so I’m not sure.

  24. Hi Annie,
    I sent my hubby out for the ingredients for this delighful dish this morning. I’m on crutches due to a dislocated knee, but I have every intention of getting up off this couch and making this tonight or by tomorrow, the latest 🙂
    It looks so delicious!
    I love your blog!!

  25. ohhhhh twas sooo good! Thank goodness for the interweb, us new wives would really be at a loss without it!!

  26. Hi Annie:

    Are you aware of a good-tasting substitute for Gruyere cheese, particularly with regards to this dish? I’m having trouble finding Gruyere in local grocery stores, and the one specialty market that did carry it was very pricey. Any suggestions?



    • Kris, not really. Believe me, I have some of the worst grocery stores ever in my area and all of them have gruyere. Make sure you’re looking in the area with specialty cheeses, not just the Kraft-type blocks. And it is a pricey cheese no matter where you buy it, but I think it’s totally worth the cost.

  27. Annie,
    Thank you SO much for posting this recipe! I admit that I’m a little addicted! I skimped a little because I’m cheap and considering I made this three times in a row, it’d get pretty expensive.
    I used the Sargento Artisan blend swiss/gruyere mix and there’s a huge difference between using that and regular swiss cheese. It’s a decent alternative to the expensive Gruyere. I also use mini shrimp because I like pieces in every bite.
    Thanks again for posting. Love this blog!

  28. This was such an awesome variation on a classic! I liked the lemon accents but my boyfriend found them slightly over powering, I think that next time I will use a little less lemon zest. I had left overs and I think it may have even been better re heated for the second time around!

  29. Hi Annie,

    Every time I make mac and cheese with a roux, the cheese sauce tastes like flour. I follow the instructions but it just won’t cook out the flour. Any tips?

    • You just have to be sure you cook the roux long enough. I typically let it cook about two minutes. I never taste the flour. Good luck!

  30. This might be a stupid question…Could I do all steps prior to the breadcrumbs ahead of time and refrigerate, then bake later in the day? Do you think this would affect flavor or texture? Btw–I am a huge fan of your blog. Thanks for taking all the time that you do to share your talent…

  31. Hello, This looks absolutely delicious. I never cook so this will be the first dish, I’m going to surprise my husband. Thanks for the amazing & easy recipe!

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