Re-heating mac and cheese?
I know this is not the ideal way to serve mac and cheese, but if I make it in advance and want to serve it at a later time, what (if any) is the preferable way to reheat it?
I am thinking of making Alton Brown's stovetop mac and cheese, and wonder if I should heat it back up on the stove, in the oven, or in the microwave. Any input will be appreciated.
I am thinking of preparing this for someone who would greatly appreciate it, and could get several home-cooked, hot, meals out of it, so whatever method retains the creamy, yummy taste is what I would want.
If possible keep sauce and pasta separate. You can gently reheat the sauce on the stove w/ a little extra milk or cream if nec. then add pasta to warm w/o overcooking it. If you're trying to get a few meals out of it, I would each time just heat the amount of sauce you'll use. If the recipient can't or won't do this, my second choice would be to pack it in single servings to be baked and again add a bit more liquid to maintain creaminess on second heating.
BX, the gentle reheating at 270F in a convection or conventional oven will be the kindest to your Mac & Cheese. The microwave tends to modify starches in pasta and overheats cheese. Stove top needs very gentle heat in a heavy pan. If you produce several meals worth it will be best to portion them out in the small individual aluminum pans you can buy at the grocery or dollar store.
Microwave, covered, slowly on low power is best, in my opinion. Otherwise, in a double boiler or by putting a covered bowl of M&C in a steamer. The oven and direct stovetop heat increase the chance that it will dry out.
I make mine for some BBQ's that I cater. I cook just shy of the required time and don't brown. I refrigerate and then when ready bring to room temp add some additional broth and cream mix and then cover and cook 15 minutes at 400, then uncover put bread crumbs which I use or none if you prefer then bake uncovered for 15 to brown. I use that method all the time.
Usually if the mac and cheese that I've made has set in the fridge it has absorbed any extra sauce so I would absolutely add cream or milk and seasonings to a pan and add some cheese stir it gently heating it and then add that to the already cooked mac and cheese. Then heat it on the stove on a low heat and use a lid.
I would also have my dish come to room temperature so that you don't have to expose it to any more heat than is necessary, which will ruin the pasta.
Throw some breadcrumbs (or panko) and cheese on top of the Mac N Cheese and put it under the broiler.