Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Super Southern One Stop Easy Mac N Cheese

It's not a super surprising thing for me to admit I suppose, but making great Mac n Cheese is something of an obsession of mine. I mean, I love Mac n Cheese like something a little crazy. I am obsessed with finding the best and making the best. I have my favorite restaurant versions here in NYC. For example, I think the Mac n Cheese at 44Xth or Forty Four and Tenth, on tenth ave and 44th street in Manhattan is one of the best mac N Cheeses in the city. My friend Fred Tessler of the Denver Tessler's thinks that French Roast on sixth Ave in the village has the best Mac n Cheese. And other's have their opionions. In my travels across the country I think the best Mac N Cheese I have had are the homemade varieties which crafted with love and caring are beyond what a restaurant can produce. Growing up in a big old southern family I can remember big casseroles of bubbling Mac N Cheese served up on family holiday feast tables, and on lazy Sunday afternoons for "supper". Baked Mac N Cheese seems to be the favorite of many. And there are as many methods and disputes as to what method delivers the best product as there are cooks. Should there be a white sauce base or no sauce base? What should be the topper or no topper? What kinds of cheese are best and what noodles are preferable are all discussion points people have about making Mac!

Everyone has their own version of Mac N Cheese which they remember, make or buy. I think everyone conjours up different visions of what Mac n Cheese looks like for them and how they envision the best Mac n Cheese. Regardless of your preference it all comes down four principles of Mac n Cheese I believe. Those four principles are creamy, crusty, tangy, cheesy. In probably conjours up an image like this...

I mean doesn't that look good? My view point is I want Mac and I don't want to have to wait for it. But what to do if you don't have time and you don't want to use the "Box"?

Well here's an easy way to get there. I sort of changed this to a 2 pot method of cooking from the original "one Pot" version. I was told about this cooking method by a friend I thought it sounded to good to be true but upon looking around online a found that the concept of a "One Pot" Mac n Cheese was definitely out there already. But like most things I wanted to put my own spin on it.  It's sort of gives you the feel of the baked Mac but the ease of doing it all in one pot. So here's this week's recipe. Super Easy Cheesy Mac N Cheese. Enjoy Ya'll.

Forrest's "Best Ever" Super Easy Cheesy Mac N Cheese!! ( Make this tonight it's so good and easy!)
Makes 8 to 10 servings

4 cups large elbow macaroni, uncooked (about 1 lb)
4 1/2 cups low fat milk
3 Teaspoons mustard powder
4 teaspoons salt
4 Tbsp butter
3 tsp garlic powder

dash of nutmeg
1 1/2 cup grated Yellow Extra Sharp Cheddar cheese

1 cup grated Cotswold Cheese
Plus 1/2 cup grated Yellow Cheddar for the top
Salt and black pepper to taste

Place raw elbow macaroni in colander and quickly rinse under water to rinse off the excess starch and soften the noodles. Let drain.   In a large sauce pan, add milk, raw elbow macaroni, salt, butter, mustard powder and garlic powder.  On medium heat, slowly bring milk/macaroni mixture to a simmer, stirring the macaroni frequently as it comes up to a simmer. You will need to stir the macaroni to keep them from sticking together. Do not leave the pot unattended as milk will come to a boil very quickly and boil over.

Once the pasta and milk come to a high simmer, turn down  the heat to low. Stir frequently. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until milk is almost absorbed but still wet and creamy. If macaroni is not cooked fully, keep adding more milk until macaroni is fully cooked.

When milk has evaporated, stir in grated cheese of your choice. Stir the cheese evenly into the macaroni.  Turn off heat. Place lid on top of pan and cover for about 5 minutes and stir to mix well.

Place the hot contents in a oven to table serving bowl or individual baking dishes which can be placed under a broiler. Cover with the remaining cheddar and place under the broiler till the top in browned and beautiful and crunchy. Serve immediately. 

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