Thursday, July 19, 2012

Stove Top Mac-n-Cheese

    If you were to ask my 6 year old, there is no better food than macaroni and cheese. She'll eat it any way she can get it. Anytime it is her turn to pick what's for dinner, it's a safe bet that her choice will be either macaroni and cheese or spaghetti. What can I say? She's a simple girl. (Except when she wants sushi for her birthday dinner which is always the case with my kids.)
   One of my favorite ways of preparing it is on the stove top. I like macaroni and cheese to be smooth and creamy. My amazing husband likes his baked. I think it's because he likes the crunchy top. The kids and I however would gladly forgo the crunchy top to have distinct noodles enrobed in a silky sauce - and one less dish to wash, if I'm being honest. :)
   I found this recipe many years ago, when I was starting out as a newly wed. I saw Alton Brown prepare it on the Food Network and thought it looked promising. (Alton and Paula - and now Ree are my go-to's on the Food Network.) I was not disappointed. The dish was creamy and had a depth of flavor that you can't get from a box. I fell in love and it has been my mac-n-cheese recipe ever since.

Here's what you need:
ground mustard, ground black pepper, salt, eggs (I used egg yolks that were left over from another recipe), elbow macaroni noodles, evaporated milk, *butter and *cheese of course (not pictured)
Start by bringing a large pot of water up to a boil. Salt it generously, and add the dry pasta.

When the pasta is al-dente, drain but DO NOT RINSE! Return to the pot.

In a small bowl, or measuring cup, combine melted butter and evaporated milk.

Then whisk in (or fork in as I did) the eggs (or egg yolks like I was using this time).

Last, but not least, add in the spices (mustard, pepper and salt)

Add this mixture to the hot pasta, and stir to combine.

Over the lowest heat possible, stir the noodles,

while you add in the cheese - a little at a time.

When all the cheese is incorporated, turn off the heat and continue to stir until creamy.
Nothing left to do but serve it up, eat, repeat and smile. :)

 Here's the recipe:
from Alton Brown

I doubled the recipe in every ingredient except- I used 1 whole can of evaporated milk, kept only 4 Tbsp of butter, and used 4 egg yolks (because that is what needed to be used from the fridge). Both versions are equally delicious! Enjoy!
Stove Top Mac-n-cheese
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
6 oz evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper (to taste)
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
10 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente and drain. Return to the pot and melt in the butter. Toss to coat.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce (if using), salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir into the pasta and add the cheese. Over low heat continue to stir for 3 minutes or until creamy.

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