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what felt like moments

January 11 2012 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Pasta,Recipe » 20 comments

Stovetop Mac & Cheese

It’s been quiet here, for too long.  Christmas and Hanukkah slipped by without a hello, or a recipe.  The new year rang in without a word.  We’re a ways into January, now, and the site has remained dormant.  Still and silent, like an early winter morning—one that’s been blanketed in a fresh coat of sparkling snow.  The same cannot be said about my real life, the offline one, which had been consumed by work.  I emerged on Sunday after a major deadline, and I’m slowly readjusting to a more normal pace of life.

Stovetop Mac & CheeseStovetop Mac & Cheese

It’s been nice.

Stovetop Mac & CheeseStovetop Mac & CheeseStovetop Mac & Cheese

Before Sunday, during the weeks that disappeared in what felt like moments, I was relying heavily on a stable of go-to recipes.  All the while, the new cookbooks I’d received for Christmas and the cooking magazines to which I subscribe piled up.  There was no room for new recipes, so instead we shopped for our regular ingredients, quickly cooked our standby dinners, and ate them up hungrily.  The new recipes would be there in January.

Stovetop Mac & Cheese

But, I still haven’t gotten to those cookbooks and magazines.  On Sunday, when I finally had the time and energy to cook something new, a thought jumped into my mind, and it wouldn’t budge:  stovetop mac and cheese.  My mind’s eye could see a bowl of curly noodles bathed in a smooth cheese sauce—warm and rich and familiar and comforting.  So, I made it happen.

Stovetop Mac & Cheese

I think I’m going to like this slower pace.

Happy new year, friends.

Stovetop Mac & Cheese
Everyday Food

Yield: 6 servings

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Coarse salt
4 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 pound small shell pasta or elbow macaroni
4 cups coarsely grated sharp yellow cheddar (3/4 pound)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium; add onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is pale golden, has a slightly nutty aroma, and is the texture of cooked oatmeal, about 5 minutes.

Whisking constantly, pour in 2 cups milk; add 2 more cups milk and cayenne and whisk until smooth. Cook mixture, stirring constantly along bottom of pan, until boiling, 6 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and does not feel grainy when a small amount is rubbed between two fingers, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente; drain thoroughly and return to pot. Remove sauce from heat and let cool 10 minutes. Quickly whisk in cheese, mustard, and Worcestershire. Pour cheese sauce over pasta and stir to coat.

20 comments so far. »
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  1. Brittany says on January 11 2012 at 7:34 pm:

    Oh how I wish I had seen this before I reheated leftovers! This looks delicious, and I can’t remember the last time I had mac & cheese…

    Well, here’s always tomorrow!

  2. Elizabeth says on January 11 2012 at 9:03 pm:

    Love, love, love this. It’s great to have you back :)

  3. Rosa says on January 11 2012 at 11:20 pm:

    Yummy! That is so good looking.



  4. Notyet100 says on January 12 2012 at 2:09 am:

    Slurp,this looks delicious

  5. Tabitha (From Single to Married) says on January 12 2012 at 5:43 am:

    mmmm… the ultimate comfort food!

  6. Whitney says on January 12 2012 at 7:48 am:

    Glad to hear from you! I am also neglecting my little space on the interwebs because life is in the way.

    I can’t think of a better thing to eat after a stressful time than a big bowl of mac and cheese.

  7. Allyn says on January 12 2012 at 8:01 am:

    Oh man, that looks more like a mac and cheese soup, aka heaven. If only the husband wasn’t allergic to dairy… sigh

  8. Dawn (KitchenTravels) says on January 12 2012 at 12:34 pm:

    Ain’t nothing wrong with that, my friend. Happy New Year!

  9. Jessica says on January 12 2012 at 1:32 pm:

    Oh goodness, this looks like it might be similar to the Mac and Cheese from Noodles, which is amazing and I always lament that I can’t make it at home. I’m going to have to try this, soon!!

  10. Charmaine says on January 12 2012 at 3:51 pm:

    I love a good bowl of mac ‘n cheese. I have a great baked recipe, but will definitely have to try this one!

  11. Anna @ the shady pine says on January 12 2012 at 3:53 pm:

    This is comfort food at it’s best as far as I’m concerned :)

  12. Kel says on January 12 2012 at 7:53 pm:

    Great to see you in my google reader again! I hope all is well and don’t work too hard.

  13. Jen @ pretty plate says on January 13 2012 at 5:58 am:

    This just made me drool!

    Happy Friday

    : ))

  14. [...] Stovetop macaroni and cheese, the ultimate comfort food [...]

  15. The Dinner Belle for Kimberlybelle.com says on January 13 2012 at 10:49 am:

    For some reason this new year brought with it a craving for mac and cheese-it’s like all I want to eat right now! I have been looking at all sorts of recipes and I have noticed that a lot of recipes use onions. I have never started mac and cheese like that but am willing to try to find the perfect recipe. Worcestershire also sounds like a great addition!

    The Dinner Belle for Kimberlybelle.com

  16. Barbara says on January 16 2012 at 8:31 am:

    I do love mac and cheese. Made a sheetpan mac and cheese for one of the Game Changers, but have never made a recipe like this one. Can’t wait to try it! Comfort food!

  17. Amy says on January 17 2012 at 8:53 am:

    This looks wonderful, Kristin! My 2-year old would especially love it. It’s the perfect weather here (dreary, drippy, clammy) to make this tonight for all of us. Yum.

  18. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on January 17 2012 at 7:19 pm:

    Thanks, all, for the mac love and the warm welcome back!

    Amy: I cannot believe your daughter is TWO! Time flies. Hope you’re doing well.

  19. Sarah says on January 25 2012 at 9:12 am:

    My, this looks so comforting and incredibly delicious!

  20. Charity says on February 06 2012 at 7:48 pm:

    omigoodness this looks amazing!!!! i love a good mac & cheese recipe!

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