In my book there's no finer comfort food than good old macaroni and cheese. Now, I think I know what you're thinking because I wondered the same thing - "just how many ways can you reinvent the wheel?" right but sometimes ya' just have to try so when I saw Alton Brown's version via the internet I was up to the challenge. OK, so I didn't follow the recipe exactly.
As you can see if you follow the link to the original, Alton's version calls for evaporated milk, sharp cheddar cheese and dry mustard along with butter, eggs, hot sauce and so on; however, I not only used a totally different kind of pasta than the usual elbow macaroni (cavatappi) but substituted half and half for the evaporated milk and a combination of sharp cheddar, processed cheese slices and Italian three cheese blend for the cheddar he used. Hey, it's a great way to clean out the cheese drawer in the fridge. I also subbed prepared Dijon mustard for the dry mustard because it saved me hauling out the step stool to access the huge tin of dry mustard on the very top shelf of the spice cabinet.
The result - a fabulous creamy incredibly cheesy kinda' piquant version of an old favorite that puts the blue box to shame. Honestly, I was pretty surprised just how wonderful it all turned out, never mind how easy it is to make. I mean there's no fussing with a bechamel sauce and no oven to heat or casserole dish to clean and my worries about curdling the eggs was unfounded.
As for the leftovers - um well, there just weren't enough. Need I say more?
Incidentally, the garnish of tiny sweet pickles is for Big Guy because he insists on having them with his Mac n' Cheese so I had to accommodate the request even though he wasn't here to enjoy 'em; however, I'm a tad more of a purist although I did enjoy the leftovers cold along with a splash of barbecue sauce and a dab of catsup. Just sayin'.
Creamy Cheesy Stovetop Mac ‘n Cheese from JBug’s Kitchen Antics adapted from Alton Brown, Cookingchannel.com
1/2 pound pasta (I used cavatappi)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
Coarse ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
5 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
3 processed cheese slices
1/2 cup grated Italian 3 cheese blend
Cook pasta according to package directions and drain well. Return pot to the stove and reduce heat to low. Stir in butter. Whisk together eggs, half and half, hot sauce, salt, pepper and mustard. Add to pasta along with cheeses. Cook stirring constantly until cheese has melted and sauce is creamy. Makes 4 servings.
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