Mac and cheese. This mainstream dish is truly a staple in the diet of American children [and adults... let's be real here]. Many of us grew up eating this out of a blue box [hello, Kraft!] and then later enjoyed baked macaroni and cheese and wondered what we’d been missing all our lives. Well, at least that’s been my experience.
A few weeks ago I was sitting in class, outlining a meal plan in my head… whoops… and I began to wonder if I could create a stovetop mac and cheese that tastes just as good as Kraft’s, and just as good as baked mac and cheese, but without the processing and without the long baking time. I felt up to the challenge one night last week and embarked on a journey that has changed my perception of stovetop mac and cheese–forever. I hope it will change yours too!
This stovetop macaroni and cheese boasts a variety of flavors that meld together in mere minutes [scarcely more than it takes to make a box of Kraft] to make a rustic, home-cooked comfort dish, perfect for a relaxing night at home. The aged Wisconsin cheddar meets the sharpness of mustard, the spiciness of nutmeg, the richness of cream, and the tang of Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce to have a party in the pan… and then in your mouth. Just add some broccoli for texture and a boost of veggies, and a delicious dinner is ready in no time at all.
And in case you’re interested, and in need of some reading material, be sure to click here to read about the history of macaroni and cheese in America! It all began with Thomas Jefferson and his love of cheese and Italian food. This influenced American colonists’ meal preparation in the early days of limited food choice. In 1896, a recipe appeared for macaroni in cheese in the cookbook for the Boston Cooking School and by 1937, Kraft marketed a boxed version. Now, versions spring up all over America. Here’s the latest!
Stovetop Mac & Cheese with Broccoli
- 1/2 pound small pasta [macaroni, mini penne, etc. I used mini bowties.]
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup heavy cream [to lighten it up use half and half]
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- few dashes freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon dried mustard
- 10 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 small bunches broccoli, chopped into florets
In a large stock pot, prepare pasta according to package directions. [If you haven't yet checked out these instructions for best pasta preparation, do it! They are so helpful!] Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, cream, milk, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, nutmeg, and mustard in a small bowl. In a separate pot or the microwave, steam broccoli for a few minutes, but don’t let it get completely tender as it will cook more in the pasta.
Once pasta is cooked and drained, toss butter with pasta until it melts. Then pour in egg mixture and stir to combine. Fold in cheese and broccoli, cover, and cook for about 3-4 minutes on low-medium heat or until cheese is melted. Top with freshly ground black pepper and enjoy!
Click here for the printable version: Stovetop Mac & Cheese
Question of the Day: Were you a Kraft kid? Are you still? I was. I think we tried other boxed mac & cheeses but nothing compared to the blue box! Now, I still like it occasionally but my tastes have changed somewhat.