The following “Chew This!” column originally appeared in “The Courier-Times” and / or “The Shelbyville News”. Check their websites for further information and dates.
The only Mac and Cheese Recipe you need
I have always been a macaroni and cheese lover. It does not matter to me if the macaroni and cheese is in a blue and yellow store bought box, from a restaurant, from a pitch in somewhere or out of the deli case at the local grocery store. Macaroni and cheese is easily one of my favorite go to comfort foods and side dishes. Over the years I have developed and made a lot of macaroni and cheese recipes but the one I am sharing here today with everyone is by far my personal favorite. Every time I make it people simply go crazy! The fabulous thing about this macaroni and cheese is that you can make this in advance, cover it with aluminum foil and refrigerate it until the moment you pull it out to bake it off in the oven.
The addition of the two different types of cheese in this recipe really sends it over the top, as does the addition of the eggs and sour cream. The eggs create a binding and add not only extra flavor and richness but also a consistency that you couldn’t get without using them. The sour cream adds tang and richness without it being too overpowering. Usually, in my macaroni and cheese recipes, I will add about a tablespoon of yellow squirt mustard. This makes the cheese taste more like cheese for whatever reason but feel free to leave it out if you want. If you have not tried it though, I really think you must. It is the same concept behind adding coffee to anything chocolate to make the chocolate taste more like chocolate.
Old-Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese
Leftovers should be kept covered and chilled for up to 3 days.
1 pound (about 6 cups cooked) elbow macaroni
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup grated mild cheddar cheese
1 stick (4 oz.) salted butter, cubed
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Next, bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Salt the water generously, before adding in the pasta, for added flavor to the pasta.
Once the macaroni is cooked – drain well and return to pot over low heat. Stir in the grated sharp cheddar cheese and cubed salted butter. Stir until the cheese and butter have completely coated the warm pasta.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the large eggs, sour cream, whole milk, salt and black pepper until thoroughly combined. Pour this mixture over the cheese and butter coated macaroni and stir until well mixed.
Place the macaroni mixture into the prepared baking dish, and top evenly with the grated mild cheddar cheese.
Place in preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes until hot and bubbly.
Remove and allow to cool slightly before serving.
Ask and Answer: Recently people have been emailing me with a question that I have answered here before but thought I would address again and that is the difference between salted and unsalted butter. Per 4oz stick, salted butter contains ¼ teaspoon salt, whereas a stick of unsalted butter contains zero. Keep that in mind when a recipe specifically states what type of butter to use. Sometimes they can be used interchangeably. Sometimes, they can not.