Easy (Delicious) Mac & Cheese
As I was looking online for a side dish to complement the roasted pork and vegetables I made for dinner this past Thursday evening, I stumbled across a recipe for Slow-Baked Mac & Cheese. I was actually a little dubious, but after reading so many rave reviews (both about this particular recipe and about the blogger herself) I decided to give it a try.
Oh my gosh! MAKE THIS!!
I love Mac & Cheese. It’s honestly one of my favorite meals. Yes, I said meals. I could eat it–only it. Often. But I don’t. I purposefully stay away from it because it is FULL of calories. But once in a while I bust out my grandma’s recipe–which is to DIE for!!
This one was honestly not any easier than my grandma’s recipe, but being able to just dump everything into the crock pot and leave it was nice. Really nice.
So here we go!!
1/2 cups milk
One 12 oz can evaporated milk (I used skim–evaporated milk keeps the egg and milk from curdling)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled to room temp
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups (12 oz) shredded cheese (I used Fontina cheese)
1/2 pound elbow macaroni or mini penne tubes, par cooked and drained (this means cook them for about five minutes until tender but not completely cooked)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Spray the inside of your slow-cooker with cooking spray or grease it with olive oil. Combine milk, evaporated milk, eggs, butter, and salt in slow-cooker and whisk until smooth (or you can use an immersion blender to do the whisking for you).
Add your shredded cheese of choice (not the Parmesan) and macaroni, sprinkle with black pepper (and whatever other spices you want to use). Stir gently with a spatula to coat evenly.
Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top. Cover and cook on HIGH for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, reduce the temperature to LOW and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until custard is set in the center and the pasta is tender. The macaroni and cheese may sit in the cooker on the KEEP WARM setting for 30 minutes before serving.
Oh, my, my, my!! It was delicious! This is definitely a keeper.
I’m not sure if I’d par-boil the pasta. It ended up being TOO tender once the custard was set. I may have to experiment with it.
Also, I think I would use a mix of Gruyère and Cheddar cheeses (vs. Fontina + Parmesan). Together they make a creamier cheese sauce. But I think that’s the beauty of Mac & Cheese–use whatever cheeses you want!!
As far as the spices go, I added a few dashes of cayenne pepper to my spice mix. SO GOOD! It gives it a kick–definitely. But also a depth of flavor.
Finally, the original post indicates that before dishing it up, she sautéed some bread crumbs with olive oil and sprinkled them over the top to make it a little fancier–I ALWAYS ignore these instructions! I don’t like breadcrumbs on my Mac & Cheese! Of course this is just me… So if you love breadcrumbs, add away!!