Monday, November 26, 2012

Mac and Cheese Contest Entry #4: Creamy Stove Top Mac 'n' Cheese

Are you ready for the smoothest, creamiest, cheesiest macaroni that ever existed??  This is it without a doubt.  My in-laws and not-actually-a-huge-mac-and-cheese-fan of a husband named this the best mac and cheese yet.  But I'm not ready to declare a winner because we're only halfway through and each recipe has had its strengths...

So why was this one so well loved, you ask?  Looking at the ingredients, you'll note that this one contains eggs for richness.  It also uses evaporated milk.  Many mac and cheese experts have studied the use of milk, cream, and evaporated milk and generally, the latter is the key to ultra creamy, ultra smooth cheese sauce.  It's also the most forgiving when you need to reheat it (but, I guarantee that with this particular recipe, you won't have leftovers!).  As for the cheese factor, there is a whopping 3 CUPS of pure cheddar coating just 2 relatively meager cups (1/2 box) of macaroni.  When you compare the ratio versus previous recipes, there is usually about a 1:1 ratio of pasta to cheese versus this one is 1.5:1.  Even the vivid orange color told you how cheesy it would be.  Yes.  Cheese pleaseee!

As I was preparing this one on the stove I thought it was a bit too soupy again but the cheese sauce does thicken on standing and clings to every little noodle.  Plus as we just discussed, the cheese to pasta ratio is part of what makes it great.  I think it would still be okay if you tried to stretch the recipe by adding up to another 1/2 to 1 cup of macaroni, though.  Brenda says to add crushed Ritz crackers if desired.  I gave it a go but personally like it better without.  They get mushy pretty quickly which kind of defeats the purpose of adding them for an oven-like crunch factor.

Thank you so much Brenda for sharing this awesome recipe.  It was the quintessential no frills, creamy stove top classic cheddar mac recipe.

And for you, dear readers, another mac and cheese recipe means another chance to WIN!  Please as you share each entry, come back and comment on the blog post because that's the only way I can track and enter you into the contest to win either Mac & Cheese by Ellen Brown or Mac and Cheese, Please! by Laura Werlin!  As always, see this page for full contest details :).

Three Years Ago: Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Creamy Stove Top Mac 'n' Cheese

  • 8 oz (2 cups) macaroni
  • salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp dry mustard, dissolved in 1 tsp water
  • 1/4 tsp Tabasco
  • Pepper
  • 4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 12 oz (3 cups) cheddar cheese, shredded (I used 8 oz mild and 4 oz sharp cheddar)
  • Ritz crackers, crushed (optional)
  1. Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a large pot for the macaroni. Stir in 1 1/2 tsp salt and macaroni. Cook until almost tender but still a little firm to the bite.
  2. Mix together the eggs, half of the evaporated milk, the mustard mixture, Tabasco, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.
  3. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Set the pot over low heat and stir in the butter until melted.
  4. Stir in the egg mixture and half of the cheddar. Continue to cook over low heat, gradually stirring in the remaining milk and cheddar, until mixture is hot and creamy, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.  Top with crushed Ritz crackers if desired.
Source: The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, page 234 as submitted by Brenda F.


Sara said...

Looks great! I pinned it!

Biz said...

I worked with a woman who made the best macaroni and cheese. When I asked her for the recipe it had a DOZEN eggs in it - it was so creamy! (and a heart attack in a bowl!)

Sadly, my husband sustained himself on Kraft macaroni and cheese after he moved for a job in his early 20's for two weeks before he got his first paycheck. He swore after those 2 weeks he'd never eat mac n cheese ever again.

It's been 30 years, and he won't even touch my homemade macaroni and cheese!