Scratch Mac & Cheese

Mac and Cheese and Caskata Arcadia Snack Bowl

Mac & Cheese 101

We are back to the basics. Pulling up our bootstraps and tying on an apron which for many of us may feel a little foreign and for others feels like another day with a little extra meaning. Cooking is something that is a part of our cultural heritage and when in crisis has the ability to calm.

With all your time now spent at home, we hope, the opportunity to cook from scratch is here. Accept the challenge and be creative. Over the next few weeks our “merry band of makers” will be sharing what they are making to feed their families and capturing it as inspiration for your family to do the same. We are in the business of making mealtime a little more beautiful, colorful and easy. Easy homemade Mac and Cheese is the real deal with only three steps and in less than half an hour.

Creamy, silky and refreshingly flavorful. Kids will love it and so will anyone in the room who can think back to the days before the boxed stuff. Find a fun pasta to make it feel new again- cavatappi was one I fell in love with this time, then plate it, cup it, scoop it in a bowl and sit together to enjoy! If you find you like this recipe you can read more ways to make Mac and Cheese in what seems to be the New York Times Cooking definitive guide to all the ways to enjoy it (this is where I found this recipe!)

Words of Wisdom

Whatever you do, use caution: The sauce in the pot should be thinner than what it looks like when you serve it. It will continue to thicken as the pasta absorbs it. You should always continue cooking the pasta and sauce over a low heat for a couple of minutes after combining, allowing time for the cheese to adhere and absorb into the pasta (this is in face the case with all pasta and sauce-always combine both to allow some of the sauce to adhere and absorb into the pasta before plating).

This recipe calls for milk, cream cheese and Cheddar. If you are thinking about skipping the cream cheese, don’t pass go! The emulsifiers in the cream cheese keep the sauce together and emulsify it. This takes the place of the traditional flour roux which for many can be the one word that feels daunting in scratch cooking.


Mac & Cheese Recipe


  • 1 pound elbows, shells, cavatappi, farfalle, fusilli or other short, tube-shaped pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 12 ounces sharp or white Cheddar, grated
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Freshly ground pepper


    1. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water until just barely al dente; drain.
    2. Meanwhile, bring milk up to a simmer in a large pot. (The pot should be large enough to hold all the pasta when cooked.) Reduce heat to low, add cream cheese, and whisk until it’s completely blended and no lumps remain.
    3. Add Cheddar cheese and butter, whisking until everything is completely melted.
    4. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper.
    5. Add cooked pasta and stir to coat. Continue to cook over medium-low heat until the sauce has thickened and is coating each piece of pasta nicely, 2 to 3 minutes; sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Season again.

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