Don’s Favorite Mac and Cheese Recipe

Don's Mac ‘n Cheese

Wow, didja ever think that a scoop of pasta and some cheese would ever create this much agita and conflict. I know that in our house we have a huge difference in tastes and likes, at least as far as this wonderful dish.

The Basic Ingredients

Pasta – 1/2 lb (that's half a box or package of your favorite shape – I like smaller sized pieces and suggest shells, elbows or radiatore)
Butter – 2 Tbsp (a little more or a little less is ok, but use butter and not margarine or some other substitute – not all fats are created equally)
Liquid [Milk/Cream/Half and Half] – 6-8 oz (use what you have in the fridge – if you don't have any then buy the half and half – AND NOT THE FAT FREE STUFF – this is about eating the fat and not putting chemicals in the pot)
Cheese – 8 oz shredded or chopped – choose something that will gently melt (you can buy a package of shredded cheddar in your local grocer or a block and do the shredding yourself – make sure any cheese you buy is made from cow/sheep/goat milk and not chemicals – pass on the low fat or no fat stuff)
Meat – 4 oz bacon or meat balls or cooked hamburger or salami or lobster or anything you like (this is the optional add-on – I like something to add the texture to the dish)
Seasonings  – your choice of spices and salsas – (I use some garlic and pepper and often add hot sauce)

Cook the pasta in boiling and salted water (2 quarts of water per half pound of pasta and 1 Tbsp Kosher salt per quart of water) for the time that the package recommends and drain.

Using the same pot return to the stove and add the butter and liquid (low heat recommended here) and all your seasonings and meat. When this mixture just begins to foam add the cheese. Stir to keep from sticking, lumping or burning and when you have a cheesy mixture (about five minutes or less) add the pasta and stir.

Serve with a sprinkling of parsley and or parmigiana and or romano and or your favorite crunchy top. This is enough for two for a meal or four for a side.

My preferences are something created and made from a package of pasta and real cheese. I prefer different pasta shapes – there are a few in the cupboard. And I like to start with real cheese and real milk/cream or half and half. So I've evolved a recipe that works for me and is a semi-simple stove top method to get me from sitting and back to sitting in a short period of time. After all, the really great stuff is baked and that can, and does, take from a half hour up to two or more hours to do the magic. My stove top method began as an Alton Brown recipe from Food Network  and, while good and tasty, uses some ingredients I chose to eliminate. What follows is my version and some tips to assist you in making yours better or making yours more aligned with your tastes.

The alternative is the thing my wife likes and is also a one pot dish that takes around 10 minutes to accomplish. My objection to this is that it is not cheese, but cheeze that makes the cheezie sauce and not the cheesy sauce I like.

Some Tips

  1. Read the packages on things you buy to make sure they don't include chemicals.
  2. Buy shredded or grated cheese without added fillers or stabilizers (sometimes added to prevent clumping).
  3. Always use real milk products (the other stuff has those terrible chemicals).

Eat good things and enjoy.

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