'Easy' mac and cheese recipe?
Someone on another board mentioned using very aged cheese with calcium crystals to make an 'easy' mac n cheese recipe that did NOT require a white sauce -- I think egg and other things were poured over the cheese and pasta?
I'm awful at white sauces. Can someone please share such a recipe with me?
I don't think you'll find an easier from-scratch recipe than this no-boil recipe I use when I am feeling lazy. It makes a Southern-style macaroni and cheese.
LAZY MACARONI AND CHEESE
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 pound dried elbow macaroni
2 12-ounce cans evaporated milk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons ground mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 pound grated mild cheddar cheese
2 cups water
Place oven-rack at third-highest level in oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in 9-x-13-inch rectangular baking pan or other shallow, 3-quart, baking pan. Butter insides of pan. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bake for 45 minutes, until center is set. Remove from oven. Cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm.
I'm not a white sauce mac and cheese fan. I love Alton Brown's stovetop mac and cheese recipe, which I found out about here. You can find it on the FoodTV website, but I can paraphrase:
Grate 10oz. sharp cheddar. In a bowl, whisk 2 eggs with evaporated milk (I use the tiny can--can't remember how much is in it, about 1/4 pt), 3/4 spoon dry mustard, 1 tsp or so of hot sauce.
Cook 1/2lb macaroni till just prior to al dente. Drain. Put back in the pot with 4Tbsp. butter, allow to melt. Stir in egg mixture, mix well, then add cheese. Allow cheese to melt over low heat till creamy.
Sounds like you are describing the Cook's Illustrated method for macaroni and cheese:
One thing I've altered slightly in this recipe is using 8 oz. of good cheddar and 4 oz. of REAL American cheese (from the deli, not "cheese food" packages). I've found that the texture of the American cheese makes an even creamier sauce.
Bechamel is a cinch if you just remember the proportions -- one tablespoon of butter to one tablespoon of flour to one cup of milk. Ta da! For a pound of pasta you probably double that.
Melt the butter -- here's where I'd put in salt & pepper & a dab of mustard to bring out the sharp cheese flavor -- stir in the flour and cook until it smells toasted, not raw -- put in milk, whisk, bring up to simmer, add pasta and grated cheese.
Best mac & cheeses I've ever made used up ends from cheese plates. You maybe want a little smoked gouda or manchego or something else really special in there, as well as something that melts well, like fontina, or just really sharp cheddar is fine, too.
MY husband's family receipe boil elbow macaroni until cooked al dente,drain and return to pot. Add cubed cheese and stir until melted and elbows are coated.This is about as easy as it gets and is tasty as well-especially the few areas where you can find a rather large glob of the gooey cheese!
Here it is, thanks to hound Deena. I'm eating it for lunch today!
MACARONI & CHEESE
3 cups macaroni
12 oz. Cheddar cheese, shredded
3 cups milk
3 whole eggs
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/4 t Salt
Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Layer pasta and about 10 oz. of the Cheddar into a 9 x 13 casserole, making three layers and ending with cheddar. Slightly beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add 2 1⁄2 cups milk and season. Pour over casserole. If egg and milk mixture does not reach the top of the pasta, add extra 1⁄2 cup milk. Cover with foil and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until the eggs are almost set. Remove from oven, uncover, sprinkle with the rest of the Cheddar and return to oven until cheese is nicely browned. Allow to cool slightly before serving.