Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Skillet Macaroni and Cheese

From Cook's Illustrated: The Best Skillet Recipes.

I served it over a bed of baby Arugula and topped it with a piece of fried Serrano ham.
Serves 4.  


Working with our skillet pasta method when developing our skillet macaroni and cheese recipe, we brought a mixture of water and evaporated milk to a simmer in a skillet, stirred in the macaroni, and cooked it until tender. Evaporated milk was key to making the sauce silky smooth. To make a quick sauce for our macaroni and cheese recipe we mixed an additional amount of evaporated milk with cornstarch to thicken it, and for flavor we added dry mustard and hot sauce. As for the cheese, we got the best results from equal parts cheddar, for flavor, and Monterey Jack, for meltability.
You can substitute small shells (about 3 1/2 cups) for the macaroni.


  • 3 1/2cups water , plus extra as needed
  • 1(12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 12ounces (about 3 cups) elbow macaroni (see note)
  • Salt
  • 1teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4teaspoon hot sauce
  • 6ounces cheddar cheese , shredded (1 1/2 cups)
  • 6ounces Monterey Jack cheese , shredded (1 1/2 cups)
  • 3tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Ground black pepper


  1. 1. Bring 3 1/2 cups water, 1 cup of the evaporated milk, the macaroni, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a simmer in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat. Cook at a vigorous simmer, stirring often, until the macaroni is tender and the liquid has thickened, 9 to 12 minutes.
  2. 2. Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup evaporated milk, the cornstarch, mustard, and hot sauce together in a small bowl, then stir into the skillet. Continue to simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.
  3. 3. Off the heat, stir in the cheddar and Monterey Jack, one handful at a time, adding water as needed to adjust the consistency of the sauce (I needed almost an extra cup of water for the shells). Stir in the butter, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

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