Southern Macaroni And Cheese | Nik Snacks ~ Nik Snacks

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On 10:15 AM by Nikki @ NikSnacks in , ,    No comments

What is southern macaroni and cheese? It's a custard-style baked macaroni and cheese with eggs and milk or cream. Many versions use anywhere up to five or seven different cheeses to achieve the same result: a creamy, yet firm texture with crisp edges and out-of-this-world decadence. 

My version is an updated, adapted combination from two different NYT recipes but essentially, it's the same recipe I've been making since I was 14 years old. I am the desiginated macaroni and cheese expert in the family and have been since the first time I made mac and cheese. Three cheeses, butter and a little patience bake up this amazing casserole of the ultimate comfort food.


At our family reunion in 1995, I was tasked with making 75 servings of macaroni and cheese for our supper. I'd never made macaroni and cheese before. My mother loves to tell this story and she always adds in how she never got to taste it because she and my grandmother drove separately from me and got lost on the way to the venue. I don't remember how I came up with the recipe or technique, but I do remember boiling 6 or 7 boxes of macaroni, cracking more than a dozen eggs and sprinkling in bags and bags of shredded cheeses and using mustard in the mix. Maybe it was from watching Food Network. Maybe it was a cookbook I'd read. All I know is, each of the three pans were scraped clean by the time my mom arrived and she's never let me forget it.


And you won't forget this macaroni and cheese either. I always use extra-sharp cheddar which adds tartness and dare I say it, a sharpness to the mix. Grated from a whole block is best, but if you have to use pre-shredded cheese, no one will really know unless you tell them. 



I also like to layer up with of Colby or Monterey Jack cheese which creates a gooey, molten center. If you can’t find Colby Jack, shredded mozzarella or a Mexican-style blend will work too. The cottage cheese adds creaminess and a little pop in your mouth when you eat each soft and delicate curd. I got that trick from this recipe along with the idea that noodles do not have to be pre-cooked before baking. It saves time and it saves space on your stove when you're cooking multiple things for dinner or a holiday meal. I don't pre-cook my lasagna noodles before baking so why should I do it for my macaroni? The starch that is normally poured off after the boiling process stays in the pasta and in the dish, adding to the luciousness of the dish.

If the top isn't browned to your liking, boil on top rack until cheese is browned in spots, 3 to 5 minutes. The broiled cheese can go from golden to Charcoal City very quickly, so keep a close eye on it.



The pan contents may appear jiggly, but it will firm up as it cools.


Southern Macaroni and Cheese

Southern Macaroni and Cheese

Yield: 10
Author: Nikki Miller-Ka of Nik Snacks
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 1 HourInactive time: 15 MinTotal time: 1 H & 20 M
What is southern macaroni and cheese? It's a custard-style baked macaroni and cheese with eggs and milk or cream. Many versions use anywhere up to five or seven different to achieve the same result: a creamy, yet firm texture with crisp edges and out-of-this-world decadence.

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • Pinch of cayenne or 2 tsp hot pepper sauce
  • 2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 8 oz shredded extra-sharp Cheddar
  • 2 cups shredded Colby Jack (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 cup cottage cheese (not low-fat)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Use 1 tablespoon butter to grease a 9-inch round or square baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir milk, eggs, cottage cheese, mustard, cayenne, raw macaroni, 2 cups extra-sharp Cheddar, 1 cup Colby, 1 Tablespoon remaining butter, 1½ teaspoons salt and 1½ teaspoons black pepper, and stir until well combined.
  3. Reserve remaining cheese for topping. Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven. Carefully remove and discard the aluminum foil. Top the macaroni mixture with the remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes more until browned. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Notes:

If the top isn't browned to your liking, boil on the top rack until cheese is browned in spots, 3 to 5 minutes. The broiled cheese can go from golden to Charcoal City very quickly, so keep a close eye on it.

The pan may appear jiggly, but it will firm up as it cools.


The macaroni mixture can be prepared the night before and put under refrigeration overnight. Follow the same cooking directions.

Please consult a healthcare professional or dietician about nutritional needs for your diet. I am a communications professional, not a physician.
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