Back in the olden days of blogging, I shared what became one of my most popular recipes: Creamy Mac and Cheese. What makes this Creamy Mac and Cheese different? It’s made with whole grain pasta and it’s made with a completely different method which gives it the ultimate chance of creaminess. This happens because…
We cook the pasta directly in milk.
Yes. We dump dry pasta into a pot and we pour in a generous amount of milk (whole milk, because creaminess). We salt it to taste, then we cook and stir until the pasta is tender and the creaminess becomes perfection. We remove it from the heat because we are people who read directions! Then we stir in the cheese and we cry tears of joy as we serve the delicious Creamy Mac and Cheese to our families.
So now, eight years after I first shared this recipe online, I will tell you a fun little tip so you can make this wonderful recipe in an even simpler, faster way. It’s this:
The smaller the noodle, the faster your Creamy Mac and Cheese hits the table.
It’s kind of a no-brainer. However, I had always used penne or fusilli shaped pasta for this recipe, both of which are similar in size and take about 15 minutes to cook. Fifteen minutes is not a long time to get dinner on the table. But…
One day recently, I used small elbow noodles to make this Creamy Mac and Cheese and boom. The pasta was tender before I’d even cooked the peas or washed the grapes to go with our meal. Sweet! Not only can we make this meal without having to think ahead to thaw meat, we can throw it together even faster if we use a smaller noodle.
I’d say that taking advantage of this tip is really “using our noodle” but then I’d sound like Elmo and I’m not sure that’s how I want you to remember me.
Creamy Mac and Cheese Made Simpler and Faster
- 2½ cups whole grain pasta
- 3 cups whole milk
- ½ teaspoon sea salt (more or less to taste)
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- Mix pasta, milk, and salt in a large sauce pan.
- Cook over medium-high heat stirring almost constantly until the pasta is tender (10-15 minutes).
- Remove from heat. (IMPORTANT!)
- Add cheese and stir until melted.
- Serve immediately.
Keep this recipe in your hip pocket for days you need to get a meal on the table quickly. Use small sized pasta so this will cook more quickly. Serve it with a salad and/or veggies and fresh fruit and you’ve just put a super simple meal on the table in record time.
My favorite whole grain pasta to use in this recipe:
- DeLallo Whole Wheat Elbows (quickest cooking pasta for the Creamy Mac and Cheese recipe!)
- DeLallo Whole Wheat Penne
- DeLallo Whole Wheat Fusilli
- DeLallo Whole Wheat Shells
- DeLallo Whole Wheat Gemelli (this is our all time favorite pasta shape for all the recipes in the world)
I have successfully made this recipe with Tinkyada Rice Pasta, so gluten-free friends, you get to enjoy this recipe too!
NOTE: It is quite important that you remove the cooked pasta from the heat BEFORE you add the cheese. If the pasta is still cooking when the cheese is added, this may cause the cheese to curdle. In addition, I’ve found that using pre-shredded cheese in this recipe doesn’t work as well because of the added ingredients in the packaging. I use cheese we shred at home for best results.
Creamy Mac and Cheese Varieties
- Stir in bits of ham or cooked bacon, or follow these recipes:
- Easy Tuna Casserole
- Cheeseburger Macaroni
- Three Cheese Garlic Chicken Pasta
- Baked Three Cheese Chicken Pasta
Have you tried this method for making Mac and Cheese? What’s your favorite pasta shape?
Seeing as this recipe is definitely a Heavenly Homemaker Favorite, you can bet that it’s included in my Best of Heavenly Homemakers book!! (There are only a few recipes included, but this had to be one of them!)
I just peeked and the book is up already on Amazon! Be the first to grab it!!