You'd be amazed at how much you need an oven when you don't have an oven. Even in the summer.
One of the reasons I needed an oven was because the girl and the husband are fiends for home made mac & cheese. They love it. I confess, I was not a fan of mac & cheese growing up - we very seldom had it, and I never grew to enjoy the taste. I know, what a heathen.
That being said, I started making mac & cheese for the girl and the husband and then I'd try it and it grew on me. I like the tang of the cheese and the heft of the noodles. It makes your mouth happy.
The girl and the husband [and I] were very sad without mac & cheese, so I searched in my cookbooks [Joy of Cooking, Martha Stewart's Cooking School and Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa the holy trinity of cooking - or maybe just the 3 actual cookbooks I own] and online for a good stovetop recipe and found one by Alton Brown. Who I enjoy, because he is hilarious.
And I now want to share this with you. Because what a perfect time to share this recipe, when the temperature here and across most of the country is like the surface of the sun! You can't pick a better time for warm, cheesy pasta! It's a super easy recipe. I've added my own twists [MORE CHEESE] and used different kinds of milk and it ALWAYS comes out most excellent.
Without further ado:
Ridiculously Delicious and Easy Stovetop Mac & Cheese [Please stop buying Kraft]
1 lb pasta - I usually use shells or elbow noodles, but fusilli and those little wagon wheels also work well
2 TBSP butter
A buttload of cheese - usually about 12-16 oz. I use a variety of whatever I have on hand, but at base it's mostly a sharp cheddar rounded out with a few ounces of other complementary cheeses. This time, I used cheddar, colby jack, a bit of blue cheese, some fresh mozzarella that needed to be used up and some asiago.
12 oz evaporated milk, OR 12 oz of heavy cream OR half & half OR 2% milk. Whatever you've got in the fridge or pantry.
Mustard powder or mustard, about 1TBSP
Unseasoned breadcrumbs [optional]
1. Boil your noodles according to package directions. Be sure to use a large pot, because the whole recipe is cooked in here. I leave the noodles slightly underdone by a minute or so, since they'll continue cooking while the other ingredients are added. Sometimes, I overboil the noodles and then I cry as I eat the mac & cheese, my tears mixing with the cheesy goodness and adding a slightly salty tang that I find kind of delicious. I'd probably find it more delicious if I were eating the tears of my enemies, but we can't have everything, can we?
|Still a bit undercooked, but yum! Macaroni! Thanks, China! And Marco Polo!|
|I know it looks like boogers, but it tastes like heaven. Heavenly boogers.|
|CHEESE! [Yes, that is a bottle of Evian in the background. I am an effete elitist.]|
|You know what this is? YES. A TINY GRATER.|
And that both can be used to remove the rind from a lemon. TA DA!
4. Drain your noodles. [Wow. That sounds pervy.] Don't rinse, just put them back into the pot and add the butter and stir over the lowest heat.
|I am actually not a fan of buttered noodles. Too buttery.|
6. Turn off the heat. Add the cheese in batches, stirring to melt. If necessary, turn the heat back on to the lowest setting, but there should be enough heat to melt that gooey, delicious cheese.
7. Season with salt and pepper. Take your time and add small amounts, partly because you don't want to over -salt or -pepper your food, but mostly because then that way you can keep tasting it to make sure it's good. [It's good.]
|I know, right?|
9. EAT!! This makes a ton of mac & cheese, but I usually end up making the whole recipe because then we have the leftovers for lunch for a day or two [depending on how many people ask for some]. I have actually called the husband at work and yelled at him for taking the whole container of leftovers and leaving none for me and the girl, it's that good the next day.
So, if it's 95 degrees with 100% humidity and you feel like cooking something nice and hearty, here's your recipe. ENJOY!