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Overcoming Jealousy: Alton’s Stove Top Mac N Cheese!

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Home Cooking 11

Overcoming Jealousy: Alton’s Stove Top Mac N Cheese!

Dommy! | Jan 31, 2006 05:27 PM

Something you guys may not know about me is that I’m a part time grad student and this term, I’m taking a very INTENSE psychology course. Of course, the joke is, with any psychology course you all you end up learning is what’s wrong with you and your relationships… Case in point… My relationship with Alton Brown…

You see, I pride myself in being a slight rebel… I haven’t lived a long time, but I’ve lived A LOT and discovered that there is always more than one way to do almost anything. Alton on the other hand, can be SO darn persnickety that it can totally rub me the wrong way… Like my BF snickered at me a couple night ago because I used pre-grated pepper... When I protested that the recipe called for quite a bit of pepper and I would have been grating for a long time, BF coldy responded…

“Once when Alton had to pepper a whole salmon, he attached a pepper grater to a hand drill…”

Which adds another complex layer to my ‘issues’ with Mr. Brown…. My BF, loves him… I mean LOVES him… he calls me to recap the new episodes of Good Eats (I don’t have cable…) so maybe… MAYBE… this all explains why I subconsciously found myself trying to sabotage his Stovetop Mac N Cheese recipe last night…

For years now, I’ve been looking for the perfect creamy Mac N Cheese… About a month ago Carb Lover suggested I try Alton’s Stovetop recipe. It sounded wonderful! So I decided to give it whirl last night…

But after a long day at work, studying and after the gym… I found myself tired… I really didn’t want to go to the regular supermarket to pick up evaporated milk and then go to TJs for fancy cheddar, so I just picked up a brick of Tillamook Sharp Cheddar (aged 9 months!) figuring, that is what most mom’s would use anyway and the ingredients didn’t have anything funny in them…

I then went to go pick up a box of Barilla Elbows… and saw that the new Barilla Plus was on sale!! I recently had heard a rave for it, again, checked the ingredients and it looked fine (No better living by chemistry going on…) Plus, I really shouldn’t be eating Mac N Cheese, so this would be a way for it to be somewhat ‘healthy’ and with all that cheese sauce, any funny taste would be masked…

And so, I came home and put the pasta to boil… I ripped open the box and the second the last little elbow fell into the water, I SHRIEKED!! ACK!!! The recipe doesn’t call for a whole box… only half a box… *sigh* Still, no big loss, I could just reserve half of it in the fridge for a few days and make Pasta Salad or something…

Then I began to shred up the block o cheese, weighing it carefully to 12oz… almost the whole block… except when I took a look at the recipe to check my next move, I realized that I was confusing it with the CI recipe I’ve also wanted to try and that Alton’s only asked for 10oz of cheese… Uh… I guess this really is going to be the cheesiest!!

So, I began to work the ingredients together… poured in half the macaroni, coated it in butter and poured in the base of the sauce and began to stir in the cheese… It really WAS becoming a very creamy cheesey sauce!! YUM!! The thing is, it was a LOT of cheese sauce…. And so, I decided to add in some of my extra macaroni… Still too much sauce… Heck, I just dumped all the macaroni in… might as well no?

By this time, I was laughing to myself… Alton would have just died seeing how I fast and loose I was playing his precious recipe… heh heh… And then, to further stick it to him, I dumped all the macaroni and cheese into a glass dish. I melted some butter and tossed in a bit of panko and a sprinkle of my brand new Penzey’s Sandwhich Sprinkle to season and then sprinkled the mixture on top of the Mac N Cheese and shoved it under the broiler. The BEST thing about oven Mac N Cheese is the crust, that is why I stuck to those recipes… And when after a few seconds I took this one, it looked BEAUTIFUL… just like one of my baked ones, with a brown crumb topping and oozy creamy noodles underneath….

Suddenly though, it became very clear… The faux pasta, the ‘measuring mistakes’, the additions… it was as if I was purposely trying to sabotage this recipe… Poor Alton… with my medling… this recipe stood very little a chance… Was I truly that much of a jealous woman? Actually… I dunno I’m just four weeks into the class… ;)

So… I tried a small bowl and despite it all, it actually was pretty damn good… The cheese sauce was indeed what I was looking for, CREAMY!! And the sharp cheddar provided a dull, but nice taste that worked well with an extra sprinkling of pepper (yes, fresh grated this time…) The crumb topping was just perfect… loved the Sandwich Sprinkle taste… my only regret was not adding more crumbs… As for the macaroni, it was a bit firm and had the slight prickly taste of whole wheat blends, but nothing gross in taste and texture…

STILL, the recipe would have to pass one final test… I packed it all up to take to BF’s work the following day to see how it reheated (Would it separate, turn grainy like all the other do?) and let my BF be the final judge as to his Hero’s work…

And wouldn’t you know it….. it heated up BEAUTIFULLY. Further, the flavors had concentrated wonderfully into the macaroni, so they were more tender and all prickly taste was gone… It was pretty much like eating regular Macaroni!! I admit, it was a total throw back to my first tour at college… I used to make the blue box one day ahead of eating it because it was ALWAYS better the second day…

As for BF, he really loved it… although he kinda smirked at all my sabotage attempts and thinks it would have been MUCH better if I had used only half the box of pasta so then everything would be EXTRA cheesey…

And so, I have to give it up to Mr. AB… despite my best attempts, his recipe still produced on awesome Macaroni and Cheese… Although technically with all the changes… I guess perhaps it’s not “his recipe” anymore… is it… Hahahaahahaa!!!!

Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese Recipe:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

About Barilla Plus, “Healthish” Pasta, currently on sale at Ralphs…

http://www.barillaus.com/PLUS_informa...

--Dommy!

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