Homemade Mac and Cheese

Exotic Mac and Cheese has been a trend for some years now. Yet I think that an excellent recipe that is close to the universal vision of the ordinary dish is something we all should have in our repertoire. 

I saw a promising recipe from avante-garde food creationists Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbott on  Tasting Table - an interesting website / email newsletter  (but please keep reading mine, too, OK?). They offered an innovative twist to make M&C - evaporated milk. But the original recipe was a little too rich for me - so I made a few minor modifications. I hope you try it. 

1 pound pasta
-- I recommend Barilla brand. Digitali (shown above) is a great shape for this dish.  
1 stick unsalted butter
12 ounce can evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
8 ounces pepper Jack cheese, grated
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 
  2. Cook pasta, but stop cooking at 75% of the recommended cooking time. Drain, and rinse in cold water to stop cooking. 
  3. While pasta cooks, add butter, evaporated milk, salt and cayenne in a large saucepan.
  4. When the butter has melted add the cheddar and jack cheeses a little at a time. When incorporated into sauce, add pasta and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.  
  5. Butter a large baking dish. Add mac and cheese mixture. Sprinkle Parmesan and breadcrumbs evenly over top. 
  6. Turn oven to low broil and  place dish on middle rack. Cook until nicely browned. 

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