I am far from being a kitchen whiz. In fact, I’ve taken a liking to cooking just very recently, especially when a recipe isn’t rocket science to whip. My excuse when asked why an adult like me doesn’t know her way around the kitchen? I never learned how to cook. I didn’t have anyone around to teach me how to do it.
Now that I’m sort of in a quarter life crisis with a toddler by my side, I figured I should start turning the stovetop on. It’s not too late to woo my husband again by making my way into his stomach or have the family experience my gastronomic contribution into their lives.
While searching for delicious easy-to-cook meals, I came across a creamy stovetop macaroni and cheese recipe. Of course! The family favorite dish loved by children and adults in the US due to its simplicity and wholesomeness. A bowl of mac and cheese always spell comfort. Plus, I don’t have to tinker the oven in order to make it.
Basic recipes like mac & cheese aren’t set in stone- anyone can customise them. I made my own version of this all-time favourite recipe, partly due to the fact that I have limited ingredients and I didn’t exactly follow any measurements while adding things on the pan.
The family loved my stovetop creamy mac & cheese dish! My husband told me not to cook it anymore after his first try, but, alas, I found him secretly eating the dish again in the middle of the night! He sure says things he doesn’t mean just to spite me.
My version of mac & cheese recipe offers all the rich cheesy flavor and creamy texture you crave. To achieve the classic mac & cheese look, I opted for the elbow macaroni pasta, the high-quality one that sticks with the cheese. You can use whole milk, but I just decided to use evaporated milk due to its denser viscosity and caramelized flavor. I couldn’t find a heavy whipping cream in the grocery store, so I just went with the all-purpose cream. A lot of mac & cheese recipes call for the use of sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese for maximum cheddar flavor. I was able to find the American Heritage brand while shopping. For a richer Umami taste, I added the parmesan cheese.
Stovetop Creamy Mac & Cheese
- 400 grams of elbow macaroni pasta
- 2 tablespoons of salt for the pasta cooking water
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups evaporated milk
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream/ all- purpose cream
- 2-3 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (yellow)
- 2 cups of shredded parmesan cheese
- Tiny pinch of salt and black pepper to taste
Extras (Optional): Cooked ham/bacon
Cook the pasta. In a medium pot, bring about a 5-liter salted water to a boil. Add the pasta. Cook until the pasta is al dente, about 8-10 minutes, according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Make the roux. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour with a whisk for 3-5 minutes to form a roux. A whisk helps break down the clumps in the mixture. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Make the béchamel or white sauce. Once the roux is smooth, slowly add in the evaporated milk, stirring and whisking well after each addition. Add the heavy whipping cream/ all-purpose cream. Continue whisking gently until the milk thickens slightly to the consistency of the cream. Cook and stir until bubbly/ boiling.
Add the Cheese. Turn the heat low and begin mixing handfuls of cheese into the milk. Stir until all the cheese has fully melted to produce a creamy, cheesy sauce. Remove the sauce from heat.
Combine the pasta and cheese sauce. Place the pasta and 1/2 of the cheese sauce in a large serving bowl. Combine until the sauce coat the pasta evenly. Add the remaining sauce and any extra add-ins like cooked ham and stir to combine.
Serve the mac and cheese immediately while still warm.
If you want an excellent visual example of how to make the white sauce, this video by BBC Food is a must-see.
How to reheat: This mac and cheese is best enjoyed fresh, but you can gently reheat it in the microwave or on the stove.
Homemade mac & cheese FTW!