Okay, look. I get it, everybody and their mother has literally, “the best damn mac & cheese recipe ever,” and to be fair, they’re probably all right. I mean, I wouldn’t want to be accused of calling everybody AND their mothers a heap of bloody liars now would I, so it must be true.
With that having been said, I’m offering to you another “Best Damn Mac & Cheese” recipe. You might ask what set’s mine apart from the others? Well, for one I use all capital letters for each word –BDMC– and when has anything with all caps ever been not the best?!
Secondly, this recipe doesn’t use any heavy cream at all. At its base it’s butter, chicken stock, and skim milk with a literal barrel load of cheddar cheese. Okay, maybe it’s a figurative barrel load, but regardless, there’s a lot of cheese up in this dish.
Despite the butter and cheese, I would actually expect this to come in at a slightly lower calorie count than your usual cheesy mac, as this recipe also makes a literal/figurative barrel load, so when you see something like “whole stick of butter” in the recipe, don’t fear too much because you could feed like 20+ people with this recipe. Okay, maybe not that many, but maybe if you kept the portion sizes reasonable which you won’t do, because this is the Best Damn Mac & Cheese recipe isn’t it?
Also, if your wincing at the idea of skim milk, fair enough, but it works in this recipe and it works fairly well. Feel free to amp up the fat with 2%, whole milk, or hell, maybe even some heavy cream. I don’t care, they’ll all work just fine because the body of the sauce is really coming from the chicken stock and butter, the milk just helps to silken it up a bit.
For real, though, this is a fairly solid mac & cheese and it does make a lot in fairly little time. You can feed your family for the night and have leftovers for the rest of the week and since when has that ever been bad?
- 1 lbs macaroni noodles (or shells if you want to swing that way)
- 1 quart of chicken stock
- 1 stick of butter
- 2-3 cups of milk (or cream)
- 1 lbs of shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup of flour
- 1 onion, finely minced
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon red chili flake
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Bread crumbs (optional)
- Bring salted water to a boil over medium high heat and add the macaroni. Cook until the pasta is just al dente and strain. Set aside until needed.
- Place the same pot back on the stove over medium high heat and add the butter. As the butter begins to melt add in the onions and cook gently until the onions start to become translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, but don't let the garlic brown.
- Add in the flour and stir to create a thick roux and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes stirring so as to not let the flour ball burn.
- Add in the stock and chili flakes and whisk until the roux is fully dissolved. Allow the mixture to come up to a boil and thicken.
- Once thickened, start by adding two cups of milk to the mixture and let it come back up to a boil to rethicken.
- Once the mixture has thickened again, reduce the heat to low and add in the cheese stirring to combine. If this sauce still looks too thick, add in more milk to thin it down to your desired consistency.
- Add in the pasta and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Optional Ladle mac & cheese into individual ramekins or one big baking dish, top with buttered bread crumbs and broil for 2-3 minutes or until the bread crumbs turn golden brown.
- Eat it.