Serves a Crowd

Ridiculously Easy Macaroni and Cheese

January 21, 2010
14 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
Author Notes

On nights when we have 20 minutes to fix dinner, this is invariably what I make. Am I embarrassed to say I use individually-wrapped American cheese? Not really. This dish is so easy your kids can help you -- or even make it themselves if they're old enough. —mrslarkin

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: How do we love thee, mrslarkin? Let us count the ways.
WHAT: A no-fuss, comforting pasta that’s true to its name.
HOW: Cook pasta; melt cheese in hot cream; toss; destroy.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This pasta doesn’t pussyfoot around. And why should it? It’s mac and cheese, straight up -- just like we ate as kids, and just what we want to eat for dinner, or lunch, or midnight snacks well into the future. Don’t you dare try to fancy this up. —The Editors

  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4 or more
  • 1 pound elbows, mini shells, mini ziti, or your favorite macaroni shape
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 to 10 slices individually-wrapped yellow American cheese (yup, the plastic-wrapped kind -- a better quality brand if you can find it, like Cabot's)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup full-fat grated cheddar or cheddar blend
  • 8 slices crispy bacon, roughly chopped (optional)
In This Recipe
  1. Cook pasta to al dente. Drain. Set aside.
  2. Heat cream in same pasta pot over medium low heat. Remove plastic wrap from cheese and add to pot. Stir. Add remaining cheese and stir until melted.
  3. Taste for desired cheesiness. If not cheesy enough, add another slice or two of American cheese. If too thick, add another splash of cream.
  4. Return cooked pasta to pot and mix well with a gentle hand. Scoop into pasta bowls and serve with bacon sprinkled on top, if desired.
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