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  • Writer's picturehungryhungryhayden

Mac and Cheese



If you have a cheese drawer in your fridge (like me), this recipe is perfect for cleaning it out.


Ingredients:

Small Noodles- about a pound, but I usually let the quantity of cheese sauce dictate the amount of noodles. Small shells or elbow macaroni are most common, but any noodle easily stabbed and picked up with a fork works.

Butter- 1 stick

Evaporated milk- 2 12oz cans. used as a base for the sauce instead of a béchamel

American Cheese- about 1lb. Has a lot of really good emulsifiers that’ll ensure the cheese sauce is super creamy.

Any other cheese that melts well- about another 1lb. Just keep adding it little by little until the sauce is your desired consistency. I usually use Parm, Colby, Swiss, and Cheddar blended all together, but any other semi hard, semi soft, or soft cheese you have laying around. Reserve some cheese to top the pasta before it goes into the oven.

Hot Sauce- brings acid and a little spiciness to balance the richness of the sauce

Mustard- Same concept as the hot sauce. The spicier the mustard the better.

Garlic ground into a paste- this is more out of principle than anything, but does bring good flavor


Technique:

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, season it, and cook your noodles until they are just shy of al dente, and drain

2. Melt the butter, and sauté the garlic in it. As soon as the garlic has softened, add the evaporated milk, hot sauce to taste, and mustard to taste. Then, bring to a simmer.

3. Begin adding American Cheese little by little, making sure everything is completely melted before adding the next batch. Once all the American Cheese is added, add the other cheeses. The emulsifiers in the American Cheese will help everything melt smoothly.

4. Once the cheese sauce is smoothly melted, grease an oven safe baking dish, and like ¾ of the noodles. Add all of the cheese sauce. The noodles should look like they are just about to start floating. If it looks like there's too much cheese sauce, add the rest of the noodles.

5. Optional step: cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The starches in the noodles will thicken the sauce.

6. Top with more and bake at 350F until heated through and golden brown on top



Substitutions and Additions:

This is something you can really make your own and work in whatever you have on hand. The big things are adding proteins (such as chicken, sausage, bacon, pulled pork, shrimp, lobster, or even monkfish), adding veggies (such as tomatoes, peppers, jalapenos, pimentos, spinach, or onion), or changing the toppings (such as bread crumbs, crushed crackers, or even fried onions).


Alternate Techniques:

This is a super unorthodox method, so below is the more traditional method and an even more unorthodox method.

1. Béchamel Based Sauce- instead of evaporated milk and butter, make a roux. Melt 2tbsp of butter, add 2tbsp of flour and cook out the raw flour taste. Once the roux is blonde, add 2.5 cups of milk in 3 ounce increments, making sure it is fully incorporated before adding more. Bring to a simmer (it’ll be a little more loose than a traditional béchamel, but it’ll thicken when we add the cheese). Once at a simmer add the cheese and continue with the recipe. 2. Stove Top Method- cook the noodles in enough milk or evaporated milk to cover by an inch or two. Once the noodles are slightly under al dente, start mixing in about a cup of fresh shredded cheese (maybe more, maybe less, depending on how thicc you like your mac and cheese).


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