Macaroni and Cheese Wars
In my family we all enjoy macaroni and cheese. Who doesn't? On occasion I have made the bad mac-n-cheese, too grainy, too loose, too dense. You are all probably aware of the pitfalls that one can fall into striving for mac-n-cheese heaven. My grandmother, god rest her soul, made terrible Mac-n-cheese but we thought it was wonderful. After all it was homemade with love but... she just wasn't a very good cook. It was baked with chunks of cheese interspersed within it and the casserole must have weighed 10 lbs. I thought you could only get creamy Mac-n-cheese out of a box and that was 40 years ago.
Well I grew up, started cooking and discovered that the stuff I thought was good wasn't. From a cookbook I learned to make it by making a cheese sauce beginning with a béchamel. This method is risky and a pain in the ass. I don't know about you but I want my mc to be delicious, reliable, and easy. I know that we all have our favorites but I want to share two of mine; one baked in a casserole, the other stirred in a pot. They are different from one another and both are delicious, reliable and easy.
The first one which is Denial's favorite came from the New Your Times. I can't take credit for either of these recipes. It is unexpectedly made by mlixing dry noodles into a wet puree of cottage cheese, milk, shredded cheese and spices. I always add more spices. It all gets baked together with yummy results. Here's a link to the recipe:
One nice thing you can do with this recipe is that you can add cauliflower to this mix and bake it in the casserole. Its also nice to top it with panko during the last 1/2 hour of baking time.
The second one is Gusty's favorite. Being a kid he likes boxed mac-n-cheese. This recipe came from Good Eats on The Food Network. It also seemed improbable, but works beautifully. Whisk together 2 eggs, 6 oz. Evaporated milk (I must that admit when I made this dish for the first time it was the first time I had purchased evaporated milk since my grandfather was alive), and spices (dry mustard, hot sauce, nutmeg, salt, pepper).
Boil elbow noodles until al dente. Strain. Turn off heat and return the noodles to the pot. Pour milk and egg mixture into pot with the noodles and stir. Here you do need to be careful not to let the eggs in the mix cook too fast or the cheese will be curdley. Over a low flame incorporate 10oz. of grated cheddar cheese until it is all creamy, melty, good. Done.
You'll find the recipe here:
Sit down with a giant salad or roasted veggies and enjoy with a nice brew. Sixpoint's The Crisp would go nicely.