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Mar 26, 2009 12:54 PM

I want to make "wet" macaroni & cheese

I know how to make a good casserole-style mac & cheese (bechamel, cheese, combine, bake) that comes out kind of "tight". But sometimes I just love the cafeteria-style loose, wet, a little soupy mac & cheese. I have no idea how to make it like that. The kind I'm thinking of is like Luby's cafeteria as a TX point of reference. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

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  1. I do both baked and stove top styles. Withe stove top approach you can make a fairly loose mac and cheese by in creasing the milk somewhat. I usually start by making a roux, adding milk, bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes, then I add the cheese and stir until melted. Pour over cooked macaroni and fold in.... using extra cheese sauce will increase the gooeyness as well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Lenox637

      Agreed - not baking it allows more control of the creaminess. Cooks Illustrated came up with a stovetop M&C a few years ago, which might be free on their site, and would definitely be accessible with a free 14-day trial membership. They separately made browned bread crumbs and sprinkled them atop each portion before serving.

      I'd suspect that restaurants serving "wet" style also thoroughly cook, or maybe even overcook, the macaroni first, so that it doesn't suck up so much of the sauce.

    2. I am a fan of making more sophisticated mac & cheese dishes using the béchamel method and different types of “adult” cheeses…but I have got to admit…my go to mac & cheese recipe’s main ingredient is Velveeta. It was one of the first dishes my mother ever taught me to make…and this version can be altered to be either “wet” (which I prefer) or baked as a casserole. There really are no measurements…it’s more of a “go with what you feel” method.

      First you add evaporated milk to a small sauce pan and heat on low heat. Add as much cubed Velveeta and shredded cheddar as you want and melt. Once it has season with salt and pepper to taste and then pour the mixture over your cooked noodles. In guesstimate measures…I usually go for the 4,2,3 method (1/4 cup evaporated milk, ½ cup of cubed Velveeta, and 3 handfuls of shredded cheddar). If you want to bake it…put it in a pan and bake topped with more cheddar.

      This one works every time for me…simple and a crowd pleaser. I hope this helps...

      2 Replies
      1. re: abduction51

        Thanks - I think I'm going to try this method. Since posting my question I started a more vigorous internet search and found that most of the cafeteria style ones call for evaporated milk. So that's something I would have never thought to try. I'll have to play around with yours abduction, and post back. I think some wet versions are actually baked too - with a bubbly top but mushy and wet underneath. Drool!

        1. re: Allison L.

          I hope it works for you. And I must thank you for this's been ages since I've made this mac & cheese and it inspired me to do so last night. YUM!!!

      2. Oh how I love Luby's mac and cheese on a LuAnn w/ fried fish (I miss the salmon croquettes so) and a random, pointless vegetable... Originally, I was thinking evaporated milk and a huge mess of Velveeta or some other processed Americn-type cheese, but then I googled and ran across a recipe on Recipezaar that calls for nonfat powdered milk and some flour. I don't know what the perfect solution is, but it's certainly a worthy endeavor, IMO.

        1. I don't know Luby's, but if you just want a soupy, 'wet" version you can use pretty much any stovetop recipe, from Velveeta-based to cave-aged gruyere-based, and just add half the recommended amount of pasta. I do this with various different pasta sauces when I want the sauce to be more prominent.

          1. I don't have a recipe, per se; I do more of a 'seat of my pants' method. I cook the macaroni first, then add to the pot: butter, half and half, and as much shredded cheese (usually a blend of three of four together) as the mixture will hold.

            But then, I can afford to be reckless; I cook for one. :)
            Bottom line, if you want it soupy, keep the baking out of it, and IMHO, keep the roux out of it as well.