February 6, 2019 11:15:55 AM
Macaroni and cheese has always been on my "must-explore" list. It's just eaten too often in this country for us to ignore it. Kids in particular say yes to macaroni and cheese when they turn up their noses at everything else. Unfortunately, it's the boxed version, complete with orange cheese powder, that's made most often.
There are two distinct styles of macaroni and cheese: bechamel-based, in which macaroni is blanketed with a cheesy white sauce, usually topped with crumbs, and baked. The other variety, the kind my mother always made, is custard-based. In this style, a mixture of egg and milk is poured over layers of grated cheese and noodles. As the dish bakes, the eggs, milk and cheese set into a custard. It can also be topped with bread crumbs, although my mom always sprinkled crushed saltine crackers over hers.
We preferred the cheesier-flavored custard version and decided to experiment. To our surprise, highly processed cheeses such as American performed quite well in this dish. Much like evaporated milk, the more processing, the more stable the cheese and the more creamy the dish. For flavor, use cheddar; for texture, buy American. You can skip the bread crumbs and sprinkle the dish with crumbled common crackers or saltines, if desired.
STOVETOP MACARONI AND CHEESE
Start to finish: 45 minutes
3 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Macaroni and cheese:
2 large eggs
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard, dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
8 ounces elbow macaroni (2 cups)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces sharp cheddar, American, or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (3 cups)
Nutrition information per serving: 880 calories; 463 calories from fat; 52 g fat (32 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 249 mg cholesterol; 1063 mg sodium; 65 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 11 g sugar; 36 g protein.