Last weekend we had the second best couple in the world over for a dinner party. I always try to do something new every time we have people over, partly because I love to try new recipes and partly because I love being a good hostess. So when I came up with the idea to have a mac & cheese bar — my inspiration being a mac & cheese-themed restaurant Ethan and I used to frequent in NYC, called S’MAC — I was pretty proud of myself. And I was excited because I knew this was not going to be as complicated as most other meals I try to tackle.
So what did the mac & cheese bar entail? Well, Ethan and I went to the store and bought everything I usually get to make homemade stovetop mac & cheese and then we bought a ton of different cheeses and “mix ins” so the four of us would be able to go to town making our own creations.
Back at home, I took the usual recipe I use for mac & cheese, Alton Brown’s of course, and tripled it. Yes, I had to use a giant pot, but that was really the hardest part. Next I ladled out bowls full of noodles with just butter and the base sauce in them. Then the fun started, as everyone grabbed handfuls of cheese and mix ins and stirred up their concoctions. We all sprinkled a little bit of breadcrumbs on top and popped the oven safe bowls full of pasta into the oven for 10 minutes. And voila! A delicious and fun dinner party in no time! Really, I’m quite proud of myself.
So below you will find the recipe the recipe already tripled, which I used to make four servings and then one big serving of regular mac & cheese with just cheddar for everyone to take from. I promise you will have a ton of leftovers which actually heat up really well when you throw in some more cheese. Can you tell I love cheese? And on the topic of cheese, we bought regular cheddar, gruyere, mozzarella and feta to work with. And for mix ins we grabbed bacon, chicken, greek olives, basil and garlic. Pictured above is my Greek creation with feta, olives and some chicken tossed in with breadcrumbs on top.
Alton Brown’s Stove Top Mac & Cheese (Modified by Jenny)
In a LARGE pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente and drain. Return to the pot and melt in the butter. Toss to coat.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir into the pasta. Over low heat continue to stir for 3 minutes or until creamy. Ladle pasta into oven safe bowls. Stir in cheese and mix ins. Throw a few breadcrumbs on top and bake on cookie sheet at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Enjoy!
Serves 4 people, plus a large dish for the table
- 1 1/2 pounds elbow macaroni
- 12 tablespoons butter
- 6 eggs
- 18 ounces evaporated milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- Fresh black pepper
- 2 1/4 teaspoons dry mustard
- Your favorite meltable cheese, grated
- Your chosen mix ins