Today is National Cheese Lovers Day. Again, a WTF “holiday” made up by the promote cheese eating association, but while were all here, I might as well share my recipe for easy stove-top Mac + Cheese (only with a sillier name). Believe it or not, it uses American cheese for part of it (mostly because of the emulsification factor). If you can’t get get American, a mild Fontina will do. If you happen to be in Germany, “Butterkäse” is a good substitute. The cheddar makes it kick-ass though (if you aren’t a cheddar person, a young Emmentaler or Grueyer will do the trick). Best part of this recipe: takes all of 22 minutes to make, which is pretty much long it would take you to make the “out of the box” (blech) kind, so you might as well go with a good one. Peas are optional, but not in my world.
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup milk
8 ounces pasta (macaroni is traditional, but any short, spoon sized pasta will do)
4 ounces American cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Small pinch cayenne pepper
4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1/2 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
Salt and pepper
Bring water and milk to boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Stir in pasta and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring frequently, until pasta is soft (slightly past al dente), 11 minutes for my pasta, but definitely check the box directions for cooking times. Add American cheese, mustard, and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, until cheese is completely melted, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in cheddar and peas (if frozen, add frozen) until evenly distributed but not melted. Cover saucepan and let stand for 5 minutes.
Stir pasta until sauce is smooth (sauce may look loose but will thicken as it cools). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.