Isn't it funny how you can make a recipe a million times and then one time you do a few things different and suddenly it's so much better?
This is what happened to me last night with Alton's stovetop mac and cheese. We were craving comfort food and I had a lot of leftover cheese from the holiday. I think a few key ingredient changes made all the difference. Here's what I did:
1 lb of macaroni (I love cheese but I've always felt Alton's recipe didn't have enough pasta to cheese, he uses 1/2lb)
4 T butter
6 oz of heavy cream
1/2 t of hot sauce
1 t of salt (I found this fantastic sea salt that comes with garlic, rosemary, thyme all crushed into it)
3/4 t dijon mustard
10 oz of sharp cheddar
handful or two of gorgonzola
black pepper to taste
boil the pasta with a handful of salt. In a seperate bowl whisk the eggs, cream, hot sauce, salt, and dijon. when the past is down, drain and add the butter, temper in the egg mix and then add the cheese and turn heat on low if needed to melt. Keep stirring until it's melted and smooth.
I think the dijon instead of powdered mustard, cream instead of evaporated milk (i think half and half would work too), and that handful or two of gorgonzola made all the difference. I added just enough gorgonzola to give a tiny zing, but not enough so you could actually name the flavor. The gorgonzola definitely brings that sharp edge back to the cheese - I think even good sharp cheddar sometimes gets flat once melted. Honestly, best I've made and best I've had in a long time.