I used to obsess over the best combination of cheeses to use for my mac and cheese. Then, I discovered that my obsession was so unnecessary. The creamiest and tastiest mac and cheese does not need the most expensive cheese or combination of cheeses. The trick is to cook the pasta in milk. Seriously. Instead of boiling the pasta in water then tossing it in a mixture of milk and cheese, cook the pasta directly in milk. When the pasta is done and the milk is reduced, add the grated cheese and toss. It’s the ultimate mac and cheese experience.
I won’t claim that cooking the pasta in milk is my idea. I came across that technique while surfing the web, I’m sure I read it in a food blog but I just can’t remember which one. I’m pretty sure though that the blogger is a she, not a he. The tone of the writing is still very distinct in my head but, for the life of me, I can’t recall the name of the blog.
Of course, to the basic technique of cooking the pasta directly in milk, I made a few additions. Well, four to be exact — butter, onion, nutmeg and parsley.
- 2 tbsps. of butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 c. of milk
- a generous pinch of ground nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- 1 c. of pasta (I used bow-tie)
- 1 c. of grated cheese
- 2 to 3 tbsps. of chopped parsley
- Heat the butter in a pan.
- Add the chopped onion and cook gently over medium-low heat until soft.
- Pour in the milk. Sprinkle in the nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil.
- Dump in the pasta. Stir a few times during the first couple of minutes. Lower the heat, cover and cook for 15 to 18 minutes or until the pasta is done and the milk is reduced to about half a cup. Note that the mixture should not be dry. You need a little liquid to help the cheese melt during the last stage of cooking. If the milk dries out before the pasta is done, add more, half a cup at a time.
- Add the cheese into the pasta. Stir until smooth.
- Off the heat, stir in the parsley.