Friday, July 5, 2013

Easiest Stovetop Mac n Cheese

There are few foods more comforting than a big bowl of pasta. And for good reason: carbs release serotonin, which makes you happy and calm. 

So when my best friend was having a particularly rough day, I knew there was only one thing I could do to make her feel better: make a yummy mac n cheese, her favorite. Nevermind the fact that she is lactose intolerant- no one can get in between her and her love of this all-American dish. 

I on the other hand, can't handle tons of dairy, so I am constantly experimenting with non-dairy mac n cheese recipes. I've yet to find one that mimics the taste and mouthful of the original but I intend to keep trying until I do.

Most mac n cheese recipes are baked, giving you that yummy crispy cheese crust that has been burnt a bit (if you're like me, those pieces are your favorite). However, making mac n cheese on the stove is infinitely easier and happened to be my only option while preparing it at my bestie's house (she doesn't have an oven!)

I hesitated to even provide this recipe because it is by no means healthy and it was improvised so I don't have exact measurements for you guys, but since a few of you begged for the recipe via Instagram, here it is. 

Easiest Stovetop Mac n Cheese 
2 tbsp butter
3 cups cheddar, shredded
1 small box pasta shells* (about 5 cups dry, I'd guess)
about 1/2 cup milk of your choice (intended to thin out the cheesy sauce) 
salt to taste 

Once the water has boiled, throw in the pasta and cook until al dente or to your liking. Drain pasta, return to pot and add in the cheese**, butter and mix. Add as much milk as is necesssary to make a cheese sauce. In other words, without the milk, the mac n cheese might be a bit dry and intense; the milk does wonders by providing a creaminess. Add more cheese or milk depending on how you like your pasta; there really are no rules here. Voila. That's it. Easy peasy. 

* You want to use shells or mini macaroni so the cheese gets stuck inside. Yum. 
** A note about cheeses: I like to use at least 2 different kinds of cheese when making mac n cheese. Cheddar is obviously a must, but Parmesan or even a stronger cheese like Gouda or Edam can add a nice flavor profile. The mix of cheeses also elevates the dish and makes it a bit fancier. For a totally traditional version, cheddar is best. 

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