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Manhattan Mac and Cheese Reviews

How to Choose the Right Pasta for Mac and Cheese

The perfect mac and cheese pasta sits in the Goldilocks spot between too large and too small. If your pasta is too big, it will be cumbersome and difficult to eat. However, if your pasta is too small you lose valuable texture benefits.

Ideal mac and cheese pasta sits right in the middle. It is easy to eat with a fork and has plenty of pockets to hold onto cheesy goodness.

Great options for mac and cheese pasta include but are not limited to penne, rotini, Radiatore, or gigli (pictured above).

How to Use Cheese in Mac and Cheese

Cheeses vary on how long it takes for the flavor to make an appearance. You can test this by comparing a piece of extra sharp cheddar with a piece of Parmesan. The extra sharp cheddar shows up immediately, but fades away quickly. The Parmesan on the other hand takes a few seconds to develop but holds consistently through the end of the bite.

Now taste both cheeses together and note how the cheesiness shows up at the beginning and carries through the end of the bite.

You can experience this with almost any cheese. Monterey Jack is an opener. Asiago is a closer. Understanding the mac and cheese theory will help you make balanced mac and cheese with any cheese.

You can learn more about my cheese theory here.

Simple Stovetop Mac and Cheese Recipev

Simple Stovetop Mac and Cheese Recipe

If you try no other recipe but this one, you will be fine. This is my favorite way to make mac and cheese. It never lets me down. If you keep the ingredients on hand to make this recipe, you will be able to expand into different cheeses with ease.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings


  • 16 Oz Pasta Cooked according to package directions
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 3 Tbsp Flour
  • 3 cups Whole milk
  • 3/4 Cup Parmesan grated or chopped into small pieces.
  • 1 Cup Extra Sharp Cheddar grated or chopped into small pieces
  • 1 Tbsp Better than bullion Chicken flavor
  • salt to taste
  • Green Onions sliced thinly


  • Pre heat your milk in the microwave for 45 seconds – just enough to take the chill out of it.
  • Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat and let it heat until it becomes foamy.
  • Mix in flour. Cook it for a minute while stirring constantly
  • Slowly add warmed milk to the butter mixture 1/4 cup at a time. Whisk it continually until combined. Stir in bullion.
  • Once all of the milk is added, cook for a few minutes while whisking it. Do not let it boil. You will feel the sauce start to thicken. It’s ready for cheese when you rub a small amount between your fingers and it feels silky.
  • Remove from heat and stir in your cheese until it’s melted and mixed into the sauce.
  • Once the cheese is incorporated, use a cooked noodle to taste your sauce. If it doesn’t taste cheesy enough try adding a little more salt to bring out the flavor.
  • Combine the pasta and sauce let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Top with chopped green onions.
Keyword cheddar, green onion, mac and cheese, parmesan