This is the last mac-n-cheese recipe you will ever need. It's simple and quick. Just cook the pasta, turn a roux into a bechemel into a mornay sauce, top with yummies and fire it up. Typical recipes instruct you to bake the dish, which can often result in a dry mac. To avoid that, this guy is all about the stovetop and the broiler. Of course, obtain the highest quality cheddar cheese you desire- I used extra-sharp Tillamook, hailing from Oregon, a very tasty upgrade from my usual cheddar from the great state of Wisconsin. The Monterey Jack adds a nice tang to the dish. The cayenne pepper is optional, if you don't like it spicy then feel free to omit it. The Dorito and Cheez-it topping is also optional, although highly recommended, if not slightly ghetto. But super tasty. Looking for a crazier version of mac-n-cheese?
Classic Macaroni and Cheese, Updated
8 servings as side
6 slices white bread, torn into quarters
8 TB unsalted butter, 3 TB cut into 6 pieces and chilled
handful nacho cheese Doritos, crushed
handful Cheez-its, crushed
1 lb cavatappi or elbow macaroni
6 TB AP flour
1.5 TB dry mustard
1/4 ts cayenne pepper
5 C whole or 2% milk
12 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Pulse bread and 3 TB chilled butter in food processor until coarse crumbs, about 12 pulses. Set aside.
Cook the pasta in a large pot with 4 quarts of water and 1 TB kosher salt, until tender. Drain and set aside.
Using the same pot, melt 5 TB butter over medium heat. Add the flour, mustard and cayenne, whisk constantly for 2 minutes to develop a lightly browned roux. Whisk in the milk gradually, then turn up the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat back to medium and whisk occasionally until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Off the heat, add the cheese a handful at a time and stir to melt. Add the cooked pasta and stir well, turn down the heat to medium-low and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring, until everything is heated through and steaming.
Fire up the broiler to high, set rack in the middle of your oven. Transfer the pasta mixture to a 13X9 broiler-proof dish. Sprinkle the bread crumb/butter mixture on top, and then the Dorito/Cheez-it mixture. Broil for a few minutes until nicely browned, of course watching the whole time to avoid burning, and rotating the dish if necessary. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.