Stove Top Mac & Cheese. Who doesn't love it? I love the kind that you bake in the oven with a crunchy topping. It's so delicious when you make it from scratch. But, my favourite way is on the stove, not in the oven.
Mac & Cheese on the stove is a different thing than mac & cheese baked. In the oven, the result is more casserole like. The texture is changed, and although it's still so damn good, I prefer mine to retain the distinct pasta shape and creamy sauce. Like in the boxed stuff, only real.
Everyone knows, or remembers the boxes with the orange powder. After cooking the macaroni, you just put in some milk and some butter (or, more often than not, margarine, and then the orange powder. Stir it up and you had mac & cheese in just a couple of minutes. You liked it right? Everyone did. You didn't have to know how to cook. Even kids could make it. And heck, it was cheap.
I think we got so used to that dinner in a box that people didn't stop to wonder what they were really eating. What is that orange powder anyway? It doesn't look like cheese in any way. Eating the real thing is more expensive. But its real food. I think that should matter. And is it really more convenient to cook from a box? Nope, it isn't.
This simple recipe cooks up almost as fast as the box. And one bite of this cheesy, creamy comfort will keep the boxes out of your cupboard forever. Perfect all by itself, but macaroni and cheese is great for add ins. Especially if you want some veggies, too. Here are a few add in ideas:
Mac & Cheese Ad Ins:
- Broccoli and bacon (my fave) Tip: put the broccoli, in bite sized pieces, in with the pasta for the last three minutes of cooking time.
- Cubed ham and peas
- Halved cherry tomatoes and olives
- Baby spinach leaves
- Cooked chicken & mushrooms
There are no limits to the add in possibilities, and you can change the cheese varieties, too. A truly versatile dish, is mac & cheese.
- 1 package macaroni or other bite sized pasta
- ¼ cup butter (NOT margarine)
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 cups milk ( it can be almond, rice, or any other dairy sub. I used rice milk for neutral flavour
- 3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (this is even quicker & easier if you use the pre-grated kind)
- Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. Once the water is boiling rapidly, add your pasta and stir to separate. Cook according to package directions until au dente, usually 8-10 minutes, meaning it will still have a slight chewiness.
- In another large pot over medium high heat, melt the butter.
- Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Continue whisking for another 2-3 minutes, letting it bubble and thicken. Pour in the milk and continue whisking and heating until the mixture becomes thick and creamy.
- Add the cheese and stir until melted and you have a nice, cheesy sauce.
- Drain your pasta and immediately add to the cheese sauce & toss together.