Friday, January 28, 2011

Stove Top Mac-n-Cheese by Alton Brown

Alton Brown is one of my favorite personalities on Food Network.  His scientific approach to cooking is so helpful, because it really does help me to understand how my food cooks and what I can do to enhance my meals.

Plus the science is dumbed down enough for me to understand.  Needless to say, I was in the School of Social Sciences in college. 

I noticed Brown Eyed Baker mention that January is THE month for macaroni and cheese and I just had to contribute this Alton Brown recipe I love.  It's so simple, so quick, and has drawn raves each time I've brought it for pot lucks. 

(Or maybe people are just being polite...)

Is politeness necessary when the mac and cheese so cheesy good?

I think not.

  • 1/2 pound dry elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons butter (I live by unsalted butter)
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 ounces evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (I omitted this)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard (I recommend 1/2 teaspoon to cut down on the sharp mustard taste)
  • 10 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1.  In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the macaroni to al dente and drain. 

2.  While the pasta is cooking, whisk together eggs, milk, hot sauce, pepper, and mustard.

3.  Return the pasta to the pot and add butter (I sliced it into one tablespoon pieces.)  Stir to melt butter and coat.

4.  Stir in the eggs/milk/hot sauce/pepper/mustard mixture into the pasta. 

5.  Add the cheese.  Over low heat continue to stir for about 3 minutes or until creamy.

The results were absolutely delicious, creamy, and ridiculously easy to prepare macaroni and cheese.  It's much better than any box version of macaroni and cheese out there!  They may be cheaper, but the quality of fresh ingredients in mac and cheese absolutely cannot be beat.

How fast is this recipe?  I made it for a pot luck at work, and I managed to make it in less than 20 minutes in the morning before leaving for work - that's how fast.  The majority of the time is spent waiting for the water to boil and the pasta to cook.  I think I took more time looking for a six ounce can of evaporated milk!

You might ask why evaporated milk - simply, it elminates the need for a roux.  Evaporated milk regularly comes in 12 ounce cans, but I was able to find a five ounce can at Target.  I said "I'll make do!!!" and used that, as I didn't want to waste half a can of milk.

Definitely make this if you need a quick dish for a pot luck or a fast dinner.

Also check out the macaroni and cheese blog from the Wisconsin Cheese Council.  While I am a California Girl and I think California Cheese trumps all, they have a lot of great recipes for mac and cheese.

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