This is a very, VERY big deal. For me, anyway. I'm a little bit obsessed with "comfort food", you know, those homey classics that are generally full of cheese, butter, or gravy. Maybe that is because my mother was more health conscious than I might have wanted her to be while we were growing up... I always wanted more cheese, or butter, or gravy than was good for me. One thing we NEVER had was homemade macaroni and cheese. As I got older, I thought the constant-warmed deli stuff from grocery stores was AWESOME. *Shudder* Finally I went in search of the perfect homemade mac and cheese. I had never had it, but I knew it must exist somewhere. Well, I found one. And it was close. But not quite there. So over the course of about five years, I tweaked, and changed, and deleted, and adjusted, until the only thing left in this recipe that hasn't changed is the number of eggs. Therefore, I can officially call it MINE. ALLLLL MINE!! Ahem.
Now, I realize nearly everyone has their own favorite version of mac and cheese, and everyone likes theirs different ways. But to me, this is the greatest EVER. It was pretty darn good, for a long, long time, until one day, as I was whipping up a batch to take to Brat Tuesday (my husband and his few best geology friends decided they would grill bratwursts outside the science building every Tuesday. Just because they could) I remembered something I had seen on the Food Network. Someone added a pinch of nutmeg to a bechamel sauce. Now, while there is no bechamel in this recipe, the idea of nutmeg (which I love) enhancing creamy things (which I also love) seemed like genius. So I added a pinch of nutmeg to my mac and cheese.
Ho. Lee. Cow.
Fireworks went off, the sun rose in the west, world peace was achieved, and I dropped 10 pounds.
Okay, obviously not. Especially that last one. But I had finally achieved it, the BEST homemade macaroni and cheese in the WHOLE WORLD. I drove to campus singing (literally) and walked on clouds to their grilling spot, ecstatic to share this glorious concoction with a bunch of men. And did they agree??
Heck yeah they did. They asked for the recipe!! How many times do you hear men do that?? This stuff ROCKED that Brat Day. *happy dance* And Austin gets bonus points for picking out the nutmeg.
It's amazing what ONE ingredient will do. Thank you for letting me brag.
MY Macaroni and Cheese
3 cups uncooked macaroni noodles
6 oz monterey jack cheese, shredded
6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (unless you are a medium or mild cheddar lover, then use what you like!)
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch of nutmeg
3 Tb butter, cold
Cook pasta in lightly salted boiling water till just short of al dente. Shred Cheeses. I buy 8 oz chunks, so i can easily figure out 6 oz and give the end pieces to the boys. :)
While the pasta is cooking, beat together the eggs, most of the can of evaporated milk (about 3/4 of the can, the amount doesn't have to be perfect) and the spices.
Drain pasta, return to pot, and turn heat down to medium low. Stir in the butter till melted. By then the heat should be about right. Add milk mixture, and stir constantly till it thickens a bit. Until you can drag a spoon across the bottom and it leaves a trail for a few seconds. Be patient, and don't turn up the heat, or the mixture will curdle, and the texture will be grainy.
Once the milk thickens, add half of the grated cheeses. Stir until melted. Add the other half, and stir until melted. Remove from heat immediately and serve!
You can play with the cheeses if you are looking for something different. Also, a note learned from my Mom's experience, use the same brand of cheese you already know you like. Different brands can taste sharper or milder, and could throw off the flavor for you.
Well, if you try it, and I hope you do, let me know what you think! I promise, despite all my bragging, you are allowed to still like yours the best. But I'd love to hear how you liked it anyway :)