For when you *need* it.
Which happens to me on a regular basis. So I've figured out what works when you don't have enough time to make the best macaroni and cheese ever. PS: I'm also going to feature my simplified version of that one from Thomas Keller sometime soon, so stay tuned.
But back to this quick "stovetop" version now!
This is a from-scratch version of what you're used to from a box. It comes together really quick, even with the added step of adding a crunchy Panko topping and broiling until golden (although you can certainly skip that, if you'd like).
I like using sharp cheddar and a little bit of Parmesan (both of which I always keep stocked in my fridge), but you could really use any cheeses that melt well. I'm also realllll weird about picking the macaroni shape. I recommend anything interesting, i.e. curvy/twirly/ridgy, that holds it shape well.
Quick Sharp Cheddar mac and cheese
Adapted from Alton Brown
Yields 4 servings
½ lb radiatore pasta, or whatever kind you like
½ cup whole milk
¼ tsp onion powder
½ tsp mustard powder
½ tsp salt, or more to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper
3 T butter
6 oz freshly shredded sharp cheddar
¼ cup grated Parmesan, plus a couple tablespoons
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
In a pot of salted water, boil pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, use a fork to beat together eggs, milk, onion powder, mustard powder, salt and pepper. In a separate small bowl, combine Panko breadcrumbs and a couple tablespoons of Parmesan. When pasta is done, off the heat, drain pasta and add it back to the pot. Stir in butter to coat pasta, followed by milk/egg mixture. Add cheddar and ¼ cup Parmesan, and turn the heat to low. Stir mixture with a wooden spoon for three minutes or so, until the sauce thickens and becomes uniform. PS: this is the point at which you can stop reading and start eating your mac and cheese! Or, keep reading if you want a crunchy topping. Divide into four small baking dishes (or one larger one is fine), and top each with breadcrumb mixture. Broil on low for a couple minutes (I broil on the middle rack in order to prevent scorching) until top is golden.