Wednesday, December 26, 2012

One Pot Stovetop Mac & Cheese

I made this a while ago, like maybe two months ago?  It was a fun little experiment one day for lunch while the kids were home.  Only half of the kids really liked it, so I probably won't do it again, but I thought it was pretty good, and it actually worked!  You just boil macaroni noodles in milk until it is all absorbed and the noodles are tender, then stir in your cheese.  Read the original post over at White on Rice because there are a lot of helpful tidbits over there. 

One Pot Stovetop Mac & Cheese
adapted from White on Rice Couple

2 cups large elbow Macaroni, uncooked (about 1/2 lb)
2 cups low fat Milk (about 16 oz) , or more if needed **if more is needed, additional 1/4 cup milk at a time for final cooking.
1 tablespoon Butter, for flavor
1/2 teaspoon Mustard powder
1/2-1 teaspoon Salt, plus additional for final season later
1 cup Grated Cheese, any one or combination of ( jack, cheddar, swiss, mozzarella, gouda, parmesan*, asiago*, pecorino*) *Hard cheeses are best combined with a secondary, softer, better melting cheese. Cheese varies in flavor and salt level too!
black pepper to taste (optional)
additional toppings: bacon bits, bread crumbs, chopped parsley, diced tomatoes (optional)

1.  Place raw elbow macaroni in colander and quickly rinse under water. Let drain.

2. In medium-large sauce pan (about 3.5 qt), add milk, raw elbow macaroni, salt, butter, and mustard powder. 

3. On medium heat, slowly bring milk/macaroni mixture to a simmer, stirring the macaroni frequently as it comes up to a simmer. This will separate macaroni and keep them from sticking together. DO NOT LEAVE THE STOVE! The milk mixture will come to a boil very quickly and leaving it unattended will leave a big mess on your stove stop.

4. Once mixture comes to a simmer, immediately turn down heat to LOW.  Macaroni will slowly cook in the milk. Having your heat too high will evaporate the milk too quickly!

5. Continue to stir the mixture frequently so that macaroni will cook evenly and absorb milk evenly. If you don't stir your mixture frequently, you will get a big clump of macaroni in the end! Keep stirring! 

6. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until milk has been fully absorbed.  **If macaroni is not cooked fully, add a little more milk or water to mixture ( in small amounts) until macaroni is fully cooked. This will take about another 5 minutes.

7. When milk has evaporated, stir in grated cheese of your choice. Stir the cheese evenly into the macaroni.

8. Turn off heat. Place lid on top of pan and cover for about 5 minutes. This rest period will allow macaroni to plump up and absorb any excess milk.

9. Take a final taste and add additional salt to taste. Before serving, stir one final time to mix everything together.  Serve immediately.

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