Stove Top Macaroni & Cheese

As I was making the minestrone soup for dinner the other night, I realized we’d have a lot of elbow macaroni left over, coupled with a drawer in the fridge full of various cheeses and asked Lane “how about macaroni and cheese for dinner later this week?”  Ah, the beauty of being in that phase of a relationship where you’re still figuring out what your partner likes and doesn’t like for dinner 🙂 .  I digress.  Luckily for all of us, Lane was on board for this, even as I excitedly (probably way too excitedly) discussed how I make a mac and cheese that’s better than the stuff out of a box, all on the stove top, with little difficulty.  Yeah, I get a little excited about mac and cheese.

I get even more excited about recipes that allow me to get away from processed foods and make something better in roughly the same amount of time.  That’s this stove top macaroni and cheese.  Another selling point (as if you needed one . . . come on, people, it’s macaroni and cheese!) is that you can easily add “extras” to it, depending on what you have hanging around or what you’re in the mood for.  Since Lane and I love seafood, we added some lobster to this.  You could add bacon, or peas, or ham (or bacon and peas and ham), or some cooked chicken, or broccoli.  The add-ins are really up to you.  It’s perfectly good just as it is, although I do sprinkle it with some panko and broil it for a few minutes at the end.  You can feel free to skip that step, I won’t tell, and it’ll still be creamy, delicious macaroni and cheese.  On the stove top.  Not involving an envelope of orange powdered cheese.

Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded (I recommend buying it in block form and shredding  it yourself for this)
  • 2 Tbs. mustard
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce (add more if you want it spicy)
  • 3 C. elbow macaroni, cooked
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 C. panko breadcrumbs (optional)
  • “extras” like lobster, ham, chicken, veggies (optional)

Directions:

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.

Add the evaporated milk to the butter and stir to combine.

Stir in the mustard, hot sauce, salt and pepper.

Sprinkle the cheese into the skillet with the milk mixture and let melt for 2-3 minutes.

Stir the cheese to continue melting, until cheese has completely melted and keep stirring and cooking until the cheese mixture is a sauce.

If using extras, combine them with the cooked pasta.

Pour the cheese mixture over the pasta (and extras, if using), and toss until the pasta is coated in sauce.  If you’re going to use the panko, do combine the cheese and pasta in a large, oven safe dish.

You can dig in at this point, or you can sprinkle the panko over the top, heat the broiler, and broil for 2-3 minutes or until the panko is browned.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: adapted from Alton Brown

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