Who doesn’t love mac-and-cheese? I’ve certainly made lots of variations on the classic, from a Cholula mac, to pepperoni pizza mac, fondue mac, to roasted garlic and thyme mac. I decided to go a more traditional route. Loaded with cheese, my All-American Mac-and-Cheese is just flat-out cheesy. And it has a little twist at the end to boot.
You don’t have to sprinkle your All-American Mac-and-Cheese with cayenne pepper, though I do recommend it. Leave it off entirely or try a little dusting of paprika instead. I think it adds a nice (needed) contrast to the tons of (yummy) creamy cheesiness. Otherwise you end up with a big ole bowl of yellow orange.
If I end up with leftovers, I warm them up on the stovetop with a few splashes of milk (not the evaporated stuff, the stuff from the carton). And I might add a pat or two of butter. It helps the sauce get creamy again.
I highly recommend that you shred or grate your own cheese at home. Don’t buy the pre-shredded or pre-grated stuff. It has stuff added to it to keep it from sticking together. That ‘stuff’ affects how the cheese melts. Shred it yourself and use the good stuff.
- kosher salt
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- Pinch cayenne pepper plus more for garnish if desired
- 12 ounces evaporated milk
- 1 ½ cups extra sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- ¼ cup Velveeta cubed (use extra sharp for even more flavor!)
- ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the macaroni.
- Continue boiling until the pasta is al dente. Drain, but reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Whisk in the flour, mustard powder and cayenne. Continue whisking for 1 minute.
- Whisk in the evaporated milk and continue stirring until thick, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cheeses and stir until melted.
- Add the pasta and stir. If the mixture is too thick add a bit of the reserved pasta water.
- Heat through and season with salt and pepper.
Nutritional values are approximate.