The title and opening photo of this post may lead you to believe that this is a post all about macaroni and cheese, how to make it on the stove top, and how to use only one pan. In fact, the next photo down is really the subject of this post. Cheese. Yes, I know, I just can’t get over cheese. When David saw me photographing a boat of cheese he asked if I was doing a recipe for a plate of cheese. So here it is:
Cheese Recipe from Daisy at Home
1 block of cheese, any cheese, just pick out a cheese
1. Take out your fanciest serving platter.
2. Procure from your kitchen cabinets a trusty sponge ruiner, also known as a cheese grater.
3. Grate the whole darn block of cheese and arrange it decoratively on your fancy serving platter from Step 1.
4. Pick up a small pinch of cheese. Oh who am I kidding? Pick up a generous pinch of cheese between your thumb and forefinger.
5. Open your mouth and place the cheese inside. Be so happy that you’re eating fabulous cheese.
6. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
This cheese recipe will sate not only your appetite and tastebuds, but also your soul. You’ll have a living room dance party after consuming your new favorite recipe, or very possibly during the mastication process. This recipe pairs very well with any pasta, bread, or wine you have available. You’re welcome.
I do indeed follow the above recipe while cooking this One-Pot Stove-Top Mac and Cheese. Are there people out there capable of grating a bunch of cheese and having none as a snack? If you exist, you must be alien or robot, because you definitely have no soul. I found a few stove-top mac and cheese recipes during Mac and Cheese Mania that looked great, but they all used milk. This is not a terrible problem as we are already consuming dairy here, but I have found that milk does something weird when it is cooked into stove-top mac and cheese. It tends to get grainy as leftovers. Now, this is not a problem at all if you’ll be eating the entire batch at once. When I open a box of pasta, I like to use up the entire thing. I don’t know why. I do have half, third, and quarter boxes of pasta in my pantry often, but I prefer to not have opened and partially used boxes of pasta sitting around. It is just one of my strange preferences. So, I like to make a pound of pasta at a time, and as much as I love cheese and pasta, I do have a tiny bit of self-control, and an entire pound of pasta does not get eaten in one evening here in the Daisy at Home household. I omitted the milk that I found in other recipes and went with a mixture of half water and half chicken stock. It does still get a little clumpy overnight in the fridge, but it melts back together beautifully when reheated. Yay!
The first time I made this for dinner I was worried that nobody would like it because it wasn’t the same pasta shape, the same texture, or the same flavor as the blue box type, but I was very pleasantly surprised to hear Katie announce that this was her favorite macaroni and cheese she ever tasted! Both girls even ask for it in their school lunches the day after we have it for dinner. Katie has since gone back and forth on whether or not this is her favorite macaroni and cheese, but I’m still making it because I have noticed that they tend to change their minds about foods. The girls never complain when cheesy pasta is placed in front of them so I consider that a victory.
I like using cavatappi pasta because it is thick and curly and fun. The girls like the shape, too, and get excited when they get an extra long piece. You could also use elbow macaroni, or just about any short pasta you can find.
When cooking risotto, I really get into the zen of stirring the rice. You’ll use a similar technique here, but you mix in all the liquid at once instead of in portions, and it’s okay if this gently boils. I like standing at the stove and stirring the pasta for the full 15 minutes, it’s an activity that helps me find my center and flow with cooking, but I have also made this while running around the house doing other tasks. Just make sure to visit your stove every few minutes for a quick stir. You absolutely can use all water instead of half chicken stock, but the stock just adds so much flavor that I will beg you to use it! I love sharp cheddar cheese, so that is what I use, but this would be lovely with monterey jack, pepper jack, jarlsberg, or a mixture!
- 1 pound dried pasta, such as cavatappi, elbow macaroni, or shells
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 20 ounces (2 1/2 cups) chicken stock
- 20 ounces (2 1/2 cups) water
- 200 grams (about 3 cups) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Place the pasta, salt, chicken stock, and water in a medium or large sauce pot over medium heat. Stir to combine.
- Cook the pasta, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Make sure to keep the water at a high simmer or gentle boil, but don't let it get up to a full rolling boil.
- When most of the liquid is absorbed, add the cheese, and stir until melted and the pasta is coated.
- Remove from the heat and serve immediately.
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