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There is nothing quite like good, ol’ fashioned mac ‘n’ cheese.  Yeah, this is American, and I’m quite okay with that. But, to be fair, there are similar versions of this dish popular in Germany and the UK. So it’s *kind of* international….

Anyways, most people have their own ways of making mac ‘n’ cheese, but in case you are 1) a box version addict or 2) a non-American visitor to this site, you may not have made your own, homestyle mac ‘n’ cheese.  There are lots of different approaches, including making a cheese sauce with flour as a thickener and adding the already made sauce to the pasta, but I find that the flour and the separation just aren’t necessary, at least not for my liking.

I often eat this by itself, but of course it makes a fantastic side dish, as well!

Plain...

...or with additional dried parsley, ground black pepper, and/or grated parmesan to garnish. Delicious any way you serve it!

Skill Level: EASY
Cooking time: About 15-20 minutes.
Servings: 3-4.

Approx. 2 cups macaroni elbows* (I usually just eyeball this)

1/4 cup regular cream (in the US, I prefer Clover heavy whipping cream)

2-3 Tbsp. butter

About 3/4 cup grated medium sharp cheddar cheese

About 3/4 cup grated semi-skim mozzarella cheese

About 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional: if you add this, change the other cheese quantities to 1/2 cup each)

About 2-3 Tbsp. creme fraiche or European style (i.e. thick) sour cream (optional, adds to creaminess and flavor profile of sauce)

About 2 pinches ground coriander seed

About 2 pinches dried parsley

1 pinch dried oregano (optional)

1 pinch freshly ground black pepper

2-3 pinches grated parmesan cheese (optional)

salt to taste (I use about 1.5 Tbsp.)

*It’s worth getting good quality, imported Italian pasta for this dish, as it’s less soggy, less likely to break, and it holds the cheese sauce better.

This is a very straightforward recipe, but delicious enough to include on the blog.

First, set some water to boil in a pot. Once it’s boiling, add the pasta elbows. Although any pasta can really be used, elbows are best for this dish because of the way it absorbs and holds the sauce. You may wish to salt the water a little bit, but it’s not as necessary as it would be for other pasta dishes. The sauce will likely be more than sufficient to flavor the pasta.

Drain the pasta and throw it back into the pot. This is one of the reasons that I love this dish–easy and light on the cleanup afterwards. While the heat is off, add the cream, butter, and salt (better to start with only a small amount of salt and add more later if necessary–remember, the cheeses are also going to add a salty flavor).

Stir gently with a large wooden spoon (this is less likely to break the cooked pasta). Turn the heat on low and continue to stir until the butter is melted and the noodles are evenly coated with the cream-butter mixture. Add the creme fraiche/sour cream if you’re using it, and slowly stir in until smooth.

So-called "European style sour cream" will do in a pinch, if you can't find creme fraiche

Add the cheeses slowly, stirring gently.

Posting this, I'm somehow jealous of something I've already made...

Once all of the cheese has melted evenly into the pasta, add the coriander, parsley, and oregano, and continue to stir over low heat for another minute or two. Turn off the heat and let the pasta set for a few minutes.

When transferring to the serving dish or your own personal plate, add the ground black pepper and grated parmesan cheese if you want an extra little kick. Easy, fast, filling, delicious, and, if you’re a careful ingredient shopper, no added fillers or preservatives! Yum!

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