Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Skillet Mac N Cheese

One of my sons was is a particularly picky eater growing up, and while the rest of us had Beef Stroganoff or Chicken & Rice, he would only have the egg noodles or rice plain.
Including Ben's palate with our meal plan was quite a challenge to say the least.  That is, until I discovered 'Skillet Mac 'N Cheese' from Cooks Illustrated The Best 30 Minute Recipe Cookbook...after which the Velveeta and Kraft boxes started having a very long shelf life.

What makes this recipe ideal for any apartment dwelling college student is the simplicity and need for limited equipment; however, you do need some patience and prep work for seperate steps. But, if you do that, and have your ingredients will be generously rewarded for your efforts.  If you are new to cooking, expect this recipe to take a few tries to master! 

5-qt saucepan
Whisk or Fork
Spatula or wooden spoon

3 cups pasta, ie elbow, penne, or gemelli
3 1/2 cups water

1 12 oz can Evaporated Milk, divided 1 cup and 1/2 cup
1 tsp corn starch
1/4 tsp Dijon Mustard or 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1-2 splashes of Tabasco Sauce

2 cups Monterrey Jack-type cheeses, grated
2 cups Sharp Cheddar, grated
2 Tbls butter
Salt & Pepper

1. Wash your hands.
2. Read the recipe. 
3. Prepare the thickener
    Combine the  evaporated milk, cornstarch, mustard, and hot sauce. Set aside.

4. Boil pasta while stirring frequently until pasta is "just" cooked.

5. Add milk-thickener mixture. Stir for 1 minute until begins to thicken.

6. Remove from heat. It will look "soupy" at this point. Don't worry, be happy!
7. Add cheese one cup at a time--YOU MAY ONLY NEED 3 or 3 1/2 cups.
(Adding too much cheese will make the pasta heavy,  sticky and matted because when it begins to cool, it will congeal even further. )

8. Add 2-3 Tbls of butter.

9. Season with salt & pepper.
10. Once finished, the Mac 'N Cheese should have a velvety golden appearance.

11. If too thick, add water or milk in very small amounts
12. If too thin, add the remaining cheese.
13. Serve immediately.  We had turkey burgers, arugula salad and mac 'n cheese.

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