Ultimac: Mac & Cheese Recipe

Ultimac & CHeese

The two secrets of this recipe are 1) Rotini pasta makes the best mac, and 2) using the right technique makes perfect cheese sauce. When I was growing up, mom used to just make the boxed Kraft mac & cheese. Although I still don’t really understand why, Kraft Spirals are vastly superior to the traditional elbow macaroni. Maybe it’s because the sauce adheres better, but who knows?

You may notice that this recipe calls for no breadcrumbs and no baking because that would be gross and I don’t understand why people do that. Mac & cheese should be a pasta, not a casserole.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 Cups Rotini pasta
  • 1 Cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated and separated into two 1/2 cup portions
  • 1/3 Cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 Cup milk (this makes it a bit healthier, but you can use all cream for a richer sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley (optional)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt butter in a small sauce pan over low heat.
  2. Add minced garlic, cream and milk and whisk thoroughly. Just leave this on low so the garlic can infuse into the fat, whisking occasionally.
  3. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add pasta. Set a timer and boil for 10-15 minutes or until desired tenderness.
  4. Meanwhile, heat up on the sauce to medium (4 or 5). You want this to start bubbling with 5 minutes left so try to turn on the heat with about 9 minutes left on your pasta.
  5. Simmer sauce for 5 minutes with your heat on about 4. If you timed it correctly, this should be the final 5 minutes on your timer. It’s important not to let this boil. You just want a little bubbling simmer.
  6. After the sauce has simmered for 5 minutes, add 1/2 cup of cheese to the sauce and whisk constantly. Remove from heat. If the cheese starts to stick to the whisk you used too much heat. Switch to a spoon if necessary.
  7. Drain pasta and return to pot.
  8. Pour sauce over pasta. It should be just right, but if you have too much sauce or it’s too runny, let some cook off over medium heat for a minute or so.
  9. Add the parsley then salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Put the finished mac into bowls and top with the remaining cheese. Serves 2.

That’s it! Super easy and the whole thing takes only 20 minutes. Be sure to try the variations below as well as your own. If you add something to it, I highly recommend making an extra portion of sauce (3 Tbsp butter, 6 garlic cloves, 1 1/2 cups cheese, 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 cup milk).


  • Bake prosciutto and cut into small pieces. Add this to the drained pasta right before you add the sauce. This is my favorite.
  • Instead of parsley (or in addition to) use a generous dose of Cajun seasoning.
  • Once you’ve topped the mac with extra cheese, add a diced tomato. I hate tomatoes, but my girlfriend swears by this one.

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