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MAC AND CHEESE

cook:

45 min

Picture for MAC AND CHEESE

10,893,407 views  This week on Basics, I'm showing you a few different ways to make mac and cheese: the comfort food you just need sometimes.

6 Servings

US

original

metric

INGREDIENTS

For the Easiest Mac & Cheese

For the Easiest Mac & Cheese

whole milk

1 ½ cups whole milk

water

1 cup water

dry pasta

8 oz dry pasta

cheddar cheese, shredded

8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

For the America’s Test Kitchen Method

whole milk

1 ½ cups whole milk

water

1 cup water

dry pasta

8 oz dry pasta

dijon mustard

1 tsp dijon mustard

cayenne pepper

sprinkle cayenne pepper

American cheese, grated

4 oz American cheese, grated

Kosher salt

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

Freshly ground pepper

extra sharp cheddar, grated

4 oz extra sharp cheddar, grated

Toasted bread crumbs

Toasted bread crumbs

For the J. Kenji López Alt’s Method

For the J. Kenji López Alt’s Method

dry pasta

6 oz dry pasta

Cold water

Cold water

evaporated milk

6 oz evaporated milk

cheese of choice, shredded

6 oz cheese of choice, shredded

dijon mustard (optional)

1 tsp dijon mustard (optional)

cayenne pepper (optional)

sprinkle cayenne pepper (optional)

For the Baked Mac & Cheese

For the Baked Mac & Cheese

Bechamel/Mornay Sauce

Bechamel/Mornay Sauce

box dry pasta (16 oz)

1 box dry pasta (16 oz)

cubed mozzarella

½ lb cubed mozzarella

cheddar, grated

3 oz cheddar, grated

parmesan, grated

1 oz parmesan, grated

For the Bechamel/Mornay Sauce

For the Bechamel/Mornay Sauce

cheese, any make up of the following:

1 ½ lbs cheese, any make up of the following:

Parmesan, shredded

Parmesan, shredded

Gruyere, shredded

Gruyere, shredded

Sharp white cheddar, shredded

Sharp white cheddar, shredded

Fontina, shredded

Fontina, shredded

Low moisture full  fat mozzarella, cubed

Low moisture full fat mozzarella, cubed

butter

¼ cup butter

flour

¼ cup flour

cold whole milk

4 cups cold whole milk

Kosher salt

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

Freshly ground pepper

Cayenne pepper (optional)

Cayenne pepper (optional)

whole grain mustard

2 tbsp whole grain mustard

For the Southern Style Mac and Cheese

For the Southern Style Mac and Cheese

macaroni noodles

1 lb macaroni noodles

mozzarella, cubed

8 oz mozzarella, cubed

gouda, shredded

4 oz gouda, shredded

sharp cheddar, shredded

8 oz sharp cheddar, shredded

parmesan, grated

2 oz parmesan, grated

eggs

3 eggs

yellow cheddar, shredded

4 oz yellow cheddar, shredded

white cheddar, shredded

4 oz white cheddar, shredded

evaporated milk

12 oz evaporated milk

DIRECTIONS

1.

For the Easiest Mac & Cheese

1.

Start by combining whole milk with water in a medium saucepan.

whole milk

1 ½ cups whole milk

water

1 cup water

2.

Then add and cook the pasta directly in the milk & water mixture over medium heat while stirring and allowing the liquid to be absorbed by the pasta, about 1 minute before the pasta is done.

dry pasta

8 oz dry pasta

3.

Before adding the cheese, kill the heat and add shredded cheddar cheese. Stir it until it is just distributed amongst the pasta, cover, and let rest for 5 minutes.

cheddar cheese, shredded

8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

4.

After resting for 5 minutes, plate and enjoy.

5.

For the America’s Test Kitchen Mac & Cheese

1.

Start by combining whole milk with water in a medium saucepan.

whole milk

1 ½ cups whole milk

water

1 cup water

2.

Then add and cook the pasta directly in the milk & water mixture over medium heat while stirring and allowing the liquid to be absorbed by the pasta, about 1 minute before the pasta is done then reduce the heat.

dry pasta

8 oz dry pasta

3.

Add dijon mustard, cayenne pepper and grated American cheese then mix together over low heat before seasoning with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

dijon mustard

1 tsp dijon mustard

cayenne pepper

sprinkle cayenne pepper

American cheese, grated

4 oz American cheese, grated

Kosher salt

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

Freshly ground pepper

4.

Once the American cheese has completely melted add grated extra sharp cheddar, kill the heat entirely and mix it until it is dispersed amongst the pasta then cover and let it rest 5 minutes.

extra sharp cheddar, grated

4 oz extra sharp cheddar, grated

5.

After 5 minutes, give it a stir then serve and enjoy, or optionally toast up some bread crumbs in butter to top the mac and cheese with.

Toasted bread crumbs

Toasted bread crumbs

6.

For the J. Kenji López-Alt’s Mac & Cheese

1.

In a medium saucepan, cover pasta with just enough cold water to submerge and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer until most of the water is absorbed and the pasta is fully cooked.

Cold water

Cold water

dry pasta

6 oz dry pasta

2.

Then pour evaporated milk over top, bring that to a simmer, and once it’s at a bare simmer add shredded cheese of choice (cheddar in this case).

evaporated milk

6 oz evaporated milk

cheese of choice, shredded

6 oz cheese of choice, shredded

3.

Mix and cook that over low to no heat until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce has thickened. Add some optional Dijon mustard and cayenne pepper.

dijon mustard (optional)

1 tsp dijon mustard (optional)

4.

Once completely mixed together and creamy, plate and enjoy.

5.

For the Baked Mac & Cheese

1.

On a stovetop, start by cooking your pasta of choice. While they’re cooking, make a pan of bechamel - method below.

box dry pasta (16 oz)

1 box dry pasta (16 oz)

2.

Once the bechamel/mornay sauce is finished, place the cooked pasta into a casserole dish and pour the cheese sauce over top. Stir together inside the casserole dish.

Bechamel/Mornay Sauce

Bechamel/Mornay Sauce

3.

After the cheese sauce has been evenly dispersed, add the cubed mozzarella and mix to make sure it’s evenly distributed.

cubed mozzarella

½ lb cubed mozzarella

4.

Top the whole thing with grated cheddar and grated parmesan.

cheddar, grated

3 oz cheddar, grated

parmesan, grated

1 oz parmesan, grated

5.

Place into a 375°F oven for about 45 minutes (rotating once halfway through) and bake until a golden brown on top.

6.

Let sit and rest for 10 minutes before serving.

7.

For the Bechamel/Mornay Sauce

1.

Start by shredding the parmesan, gruyere, fontina, and sharp white cheddar on the large hole side of a box grater and cubing the mozzarella cheese. All to specified weight.

cheese, any make up of the following:

1 ½ lbs cheese, any make up of the following:

Parmesan, shredded

Parmesan, shredded

Gruyere, shredded

Gruyere, shredded

Sharp white cheddar, shredded

Sharp white cheddar, shredded

Fontina, shredded

Fontina, shredded

Low moisture full  fat mozzarella, cubed

Low moisture full fat mozzarella, cubed

2.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until it stops spattering, the stage right before browning. Make sure to swirl regularly so the butter doesn’t splatter.

butter

¼ cup butter

3.

At this point, add flour and whisk into a thick paste and cook for 2-3 minutes until the raw flour smell dissipates.

flour

¼ cup flour

4.

At which point, slowly add the cold milk a little at a time. Slowly add 1/2 a cup of milk while whisking together until it reaches a smooth paste then add another ½ cup whisk until smooth, and so on and so forth until all of the milk have been added.

cold whole milk

4 cups cold whole milk

5.

Whisk that rigorously over medium-high heat until it comes to a bare simmer and reaches a consistency of just thicker than that of heavy cream.

6.

Once the bechamel is finished, combine all the cheese (except mozzarella) into a heatproof bowl. Pour the bechamel over top through a fine-mesh strainer. Fold the cheese into the bechamel and whisk until it is fully melted and turned into a mornay sauce.

cheese, any make up of the following:

1 ½ lbs cheese, any make up of the following:

7.

Season with a bunch of salt, freshly ground pepper, cayenne pepper (optional), and whole grain mustard and whisk to combine.

Kosher salt

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

Freshly ground pepper

Cayenne pepper (optional)

Cayenne pepper (optional)

whole grain mustard

2 tbsp whole grain mustard

8.

For the Southern Style Mac and Cheese:

1.

Start by cooking macaroni pasta in water.

macaroni noodles

1 lb macaroni noodles

2.

Then shred sharp cheddar, cube mozzarella, and shred smoked gouda.

mozzarella, cubed

8 oz mozzarella, cubed

gouda, shredded

4 oz gouda, shredded

sharp cheddar, shredded

8 oz sharp cheddar, shredded

3.

Once the macaroni is cooked, drained, and returned to the warm pot. Add in the sharp cheddar, stirring into the past while adding evaporated milk and mix together.

evaporated milk

12 oz evaporated milk

4.

After the cheese has melted and the pasta is creamy and cheesy, add in the smoked gouda and mozzarella then mix together until evenly distributed.

5.

Once the pasta has cooled enough to stick a finger without being burnt, put in large eggs - whisking together vigorously until the eggs are nice and smooth.

eggs

3 eggs

6.

Place into a casserole dish, smooth it all out then cover/sprinkle on top with shredded yellow and white cheddar cheese along with the grated parmesan.

yellow cheddar, shredded

4 oz yellow cheddar, shredded

white cheddar, shredded

4 oz white cheddar, shredded

parmesan, grated

2 oz parmesan, grated

7.

After the cheese is evenly coated on top, place the casserole dish into a 375°F oven for about 45 minutes until golden brown.

8.

Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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