What would you say if I told you that you could make this macaroni and cheese recipe in just one pan and that it would take you less than 30 minutes? Sounds pretty good, right? I almost thought it sounded too good, so of course I had to give it a shot. You essentially cook the pasta in a combination of evaporated milk and water in a skillet until the pasta is tender and the sauce has thickened, then you stir in a ton of cheese and a little bit of butter. It really couldn’t be any easier. The resulting sauce is wonderfully thick, rich and smooth and coats every inch of the pasta. Diet friendly this is not, but it’s so worth an occasional splurge! It probably goes without saying, but use cheeses you really like here. And whatever you do, avoid the preshredded cheeses – they don’t melt well and won’t give you good results with the recipe.
If you turn to the blue box mac and cheese from time to time to satisfy a craving (and don’t we all?), I recommend trying this instead next time. The time and effort required really aren’t much different but when it comes to flavor, this is light years better! I’ve been on a bit of a quest to find a good stove top mac and cheese recipe, and after several flops, I was almost ready to throw in the towel and revisit the subject another time. I’m so glad I tried one more because this, this is the one.
Skillet Macaroni and Cheese
from The Best Skillet Recipes
3 1/2 cups water, plus extra as needed
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
12 oz elbow macaroni
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
6 oz cheddar cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
6 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Combine 3 1/2 cups water, 1 cup of the evaporated milk, the pasta and salt in a 12-inch nonstick skillet. Set the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Continue cooking at a vigorous simmer, stirring frequently, until the pasta is tender and the liquid has thickened considerably, about 9-12 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a measuring cup, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup evaporated milk, the cornstarch, mustard and hot sauce. When the pasta is tender, add this mixture to the skillet, stirring to incorporate. Allow to simmer for another minute, or until the sauce has slightly thickened.
Remove the pan from the heat, and begin adding the cheese one handful at a time (don’t be tempted to just throw it all in at once). If the sauce begins to look too thick, you can add water to adjust the consistency (I added a few tablespoons total). Once all of the cheese is incorporated, stir in the butter then season to taste with salt and pepper.