Episode 65 – “For Whom the Cheese Melts 2”

Posted: August 14, 2016 in Season 5
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Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Next up in my blog project was Alton’s recipe for baked macaroni and cheese. Last fall, Alton posted an updated version of this recipe on his web page, and I went ahead and made it, despite knowing it would be coming up later in my project. Yes, I usually try to wait to make the Good Eats recipes until their time arrives in sequence, but last fall was a rough time and I was searching for the highest calorie recipes I could find. Ted had lost 35 pounds from his skinny runner/cyclist frame, due to complications from cancer treatment, so I was on a mission to fatten him up. When Alton’s baked macaroni and cheese showed up in my Facebook feed, it was just perfect timing. Knowing this recipe was good, I was excited to make it again – this time for my blog.

Cheese-wise, you will need 12 ounces of grated cheddar cheese for Alton’s recipe.

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12 ounces of grated cheddar.

Begin by cooking 1/2 pound of elbow macaroni in salted water for six minutes. Drain the pasta and rinse it with cold water to halt the cooking process.

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1/2 pound of elbow macaroni, cooked for 6 minutes and rinsed under cold water.

Next, melt 3 T butter in a pan over medium heat, and whisk in 3 T flour. Cook this mixture until it is sandy in color.

Add 1 T powdered mustard, 1/2 t paprika (I used hot, smoked paprika), 1/2 C chopped onion, 1 bay leaf, and 1 t Kosher salt, whisking to incorporate.

Slowly add in 3 C whole milk, whisking until thickened, which will take several minutes.

Discard bay leaf. In a small bowl, lightly beat one egg. Temper the egg by whisking in 2 T of the hot milk sauce. You can now add the egg to the pan of hot sauce and it will not curdle.

Whisk in 3/4 of the grated cheese until melted.

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3/4 of cheese being added to sauce.

Fold the cooked noodles into the cheese sauce and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese over the top of the casserole.

Finally, combine 1 C panko bread crumbs with 4 T melted butter, and sprinkle the buttered crumbs evenly over the surface of the casserole.

Bake the macaroni and cheese at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let the macaroni and cheese sit for a few minutes before serving.

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Alton’s baked mac and cheese.

As I said before, this macaroni and cheese is not low-cal, but it is quite delicious. While the noodles remain “toothsome,” the sauce is rich and cheesy with a little bite from the powdered mustard and paprika. The crispy panko topping is the icing on the… mac and cheese? For mac and cheese fans, this is a sure hit.

Stove Top Mac-n-Cheese

As if one great macaroni and cheese recipe weren’t enough, Alton also has a stove top version of America’s greatest casserole. For this recipe, you will need eggs, evaporated milk, hot sauce, powdered mustard, Kosher salt, pepper, elbow macaroni, butter, and cheddar cheese.

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Ingredients for Alton’s stove top mac and cheese: pepper, hot sauce, powdered mustard, butter, eggs, cheddar cheese, elbow macaroni, evaporated milk, and Kosher salt.

Begin by grating 10 ounces of cheddar cheese.

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10 ounces of grated cheddar cheese.

Next, whisk 2 eggs in a bowl and add 6 ounces of evaporated milk. Add 1/2 t hot sauce, 3/4 t powdered mustard, 1 t Kosher salt, and some pepper.

Set the sauce aside while you cook 1/2 pound of elbow macaroni in salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta and place it immediately back in the pan, stirring in 4 T butter until melted.

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Butter added to hot elbow macaroni.

On a low burner, add the egg mixture to the noodles, along with the grated cheddar cheese. Cook and stir until the sauce is smooth.

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Alton’s stove top mac and cheese.

Honestly, we thought this mac and cheese was great, especially for the time and effort required. I actually thought this recipe had stronger cheese flavor than Alton’s baked version. I did, however, miss the crispy panko topping. Next time I make mac and cheese, I think I will opt for this version because it is easier, faster, and on par with Alton’s baked recipe – I just might add some buttered, toasted panko to the top. I will be making this again for sure.

Next Day Mac and Cheese “Toast”

In case macaroni and cheese was not sinful enough, Alton decided to make it that much richer with this recipe for fried macaroni and cheese. I made this with leftovers from Alton’s baked macaroni and cheese. Begin by combining 1 C flour, 1 t salt, and 1 t cayenne pepper.

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Flour, salt, and cayenne.

Slice your cold leftover macaroni and cheese into individual servings and coat each piece in the flour mixture. Next, dunk each piece in beaten egg. Finally, dip each slice in panko bread crumbs.

While you are preparing your macaroni and cheese, heat peanut oil to 375 degrees on the stove.

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Peanut oil, heating to 375.

When the oil has reached its temperature, fry the macaroni and cheese slices until golden brown and crispy.

Sprinkle the slices with Kosher salt and hot sauce before serving.

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Alton’s fried macaroni and cheese.

This was delicious. The already wonderful, cheesy, rich macaroni and cheese was enhanced with a golden, crispy fried crust all around. If you have leftover macaroni and cheese, frying it makes an extra special treat, and who couldn’t use a treat now and then?

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