No Bake Mac & Cheese

This recipe for mac & cheese from Michael Symon’s 5 in 5 (Clarkson Potter, September 2013) is the definition of an easy weeknight meal. Everyone loves a good mac & cheese recipe, but sometimes they can be pretty time-consuming and require a lot of advance planning. Not this one! Try it tonight, and we promise you’ll never go back to your old ways.

No-Bake Mac & Cheese
Recipe from Michael Symon’s 5 in 5

Serves 4

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fresh rigatoni pasta
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
½ cup mascarpone (if you cannot find it, cream cheese will work in a pinch)
1 cup grated aged cheddar cheese
½ cup finely chopped fresh chives

1. In a very large pot, bring 5 quarts water and 3 tablespoons salt to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until just al dente, about 1 minute less than the package directions. Occasionally give the pasta a stir so it doesn’t stick together. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, put a 2-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the cream, hot sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste and bring to a simmer. Cook until the cream has reduced by one-third, about 3 minutes. Add the mascarpone and cheddar, whisking to incorporate them into the cream.

3. When the cheeses are fully melted and blended into the sauce, add the cooked pasta and chives, stirring them into the sauce. Serve immediately.

Note: To add a crunchy topping, spread a layer of panko or plain dry bread crumbs on top and put under a hot broiler until golden brown, about 1 minute.