For those nights when only a big o’ bowl of pasta and cheese will do this mac and cheese for one answers the call. It’s creamy. It’s rich. Plus, it’s so, so easy to make and will knock out any sudden-onset comfort food craving. It’s a decadent treat for one.
There are times for fancy baked macaroni and cheese dishes like my mushroom macaroni and cheese or roasted broccoli mac and cheese which are both rich, decadent, and totally dinner-worthy when you want a special occasion side dish, but for all the other times (read: Friday nights when there’s nothing more planned than a serious solo Netflix binge) this stovetop mac and cheese for one is the go-to. It’s creamy, rich, and so easy to make you’ll need to put the cheese on lockdown to keep from making it all the time. I know this from experience. As is the case with any type of mac and cheese, this is one to treat yourself with every so often.
Some Ingredients You’ll Need
- I like the combination of cheddar cheese and fontina cheese for this recipe because they make for a rich and creamy cheese sauce. I’ve only tested this recipe with block cheese that I shred myself and a food processor fitted with a grating attachment makes easy work of the cheese.
- If you can’t find fontina you can use all cheddar cheese – it works!
- Toss the shredded cheese with some cornstarch to ensure that the cheese melts evenly and doesn’t end up a super stringy mess. The cornstarch also helps thicken the sauce.
- You can use any sort of short pasta shape that you like, but I like the medium pasta shells because they hold the cheese sauce really well with their little nooks and crannies.
- You’ll also need a little butter and some whole milk.
Once the pasta is cooked all of the other ingredients are added to the pan and from there it’s just some stirring to get the final result: a pan of mac and cheese for one that’s so decadent you’ll want to eat it straight from the pot. Or, if you’re feeling a little more civilized transfer it to a bowl and garnish it with some fresh parsley to fancy it up.
Additional Tips and Tricks
- After you boil the pasta drain it quickly and return it back to the hot pot. It’s okay if some of the starchy water comes with it – it will just help create a creamy sauce!
- It’s best served right away – the sauce will continue to thicken as it stands.
- I haven’t tried doubling this recipe, but if you do I think it will work fine! Leave a comment and let me know if you try it.
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Stovetop Mac and Cheese for One
For those nights when only a big o’ bowl of pasta and cheese will do this stovetop mac and cheese answers the call. It’s decadent. It’s rich. Plus, it’s so, so easy to make and will knock out any sudden-onset comfort food craving.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 1 serving 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Boil
- Cuisine: American
- 3 ounces medium pasta shells
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra to taste
- 2 ounces shredded mild cheddar cheese
- 2 ounces shredded fontina cheese
- 2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons whole milk, divided
- Boil the pasta according to package directions. Season the water with 1 teaspoon of salt. While the pasta cooks, place the cheddar cheese and fontina cheese in a bowl and toss it with the cornstarch until it’s evenly coated.
- Drain the pasta and return it back to the same pan. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the butter and 2 tablespoons of milk. Stir until the butter is melted. Add the cheese and stir quickly until it starts to melt into the pasta. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and continue stirring until the sauce is smooth, creamy, and evenly coats the pasta. Add additional salt, to taste
The key to this mac and cheese is the consistency of the sauce and in testing, I found that four tablespoons of whole milk are enough to create a creamy sauce. I haven’t tried this recipe with a lower fat milk. That said, if your sauce is too thick or not clinging to the pasta be sure to add additional milk, a tablespoon at a time, until you get the right consistency. Also, stirring rigorously goes a long way to help the sauce come together.
A note about the nutrition: it’s out of control but when a mac and cheese craving hits I like to go all the way. Mac and cheese is a treat. Also, about the salt: the teaspoon that is added to the pasta water mostly goes away after you drain it, but it’s tough to measure so the sodium estimate is most likely a high estimate.
- Serving Size: all of recipe
- Calories: 927
- Sugar: 6.5g
- Sodium: 3183.8mg
- Fat: 51.4g
- Saturated Fat: 30.1g
- Trans Fat: 0.5g
- Carbohydrates: 74.3g
- Fiber: 2.8g
- Protein: 40.7g
- Cholesterol: 158.6mg
Keywords: mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, macaroni and cheese for one
JP Colter says
Oh, for God’s sake, per-shredded cheese works just fine and doesn’t have “lots of extra ingredients”. Jeeze, at least put good information out there.
Thanks for your comment – there are extra ingredients in most pre-shredded cheese packages mostly to make them more stable and to prevent mold. In my experience, using them in this kind of recipe doesn’t always yield the same results which is why I recommend block cheese instead.
Pre-shreadded cheeses contain added preservatives like potato starch and natamycin which keeps the cheese from clumping. Since these are added that means that the cheese doesn’t melt as well, and can also result in clumps. Blocks of cheese melt much better and result in a much more smoother texture. Before you comment something like that please do your research. A comment like this is very unnecessary. If you think it doesn’t matter them you can make your Mac and Cheese with pre-shredded cheese.
Of course it looks good!! I bet it tasted even better.