I realize that calling macaroni and cheese “incredible” might seem like hyperbole, but I was really craving some of this cheesy pasta, and when I tasted this tonight, I was ecstatic! It was everything I was hoping for: creamy, cheesy, a bit crusty on top, with a nice zingy flavor, due to the dry mustard and red pepper flakes. (Zingy is a real word, right?)
The recipe is based upon Paula Deen’s creamy crock pot macaroni-n-cheese, but I changed quite a few things. I didn’t want to use a crock pot, as I was afraid the pasta would get too mushy. I wanted a nice, al dente pasta. Here is a link to Paula’s Creamy Mac-n-Cheese.
Now, here is what I did.
MamaSteph’s Creamy, Incredible Macaroni and Cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup sour cream
4 TBS butter (I used salted)
1 10 oz. can Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese soup (do NOT turn your nose up at this, foodies; just trust it.)
3 cups grated Cheddar Cheese
3 eggs, beaten
13 oz. dry large elbow macaroni (I bought a 24 oz bag, and used a bit over half of it, so this is approximate)
Boil the pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside in its pot.
In a saucepan, melt the four TBS of butter over low-medium heat. Stir in the grated cheddar cheese, allowing it to completely melt while stirring. Add the soup, sour cream, heavy cream, salt and pepper, dry mustard, and red pepper flakes, continuing to stir until it is mixed well. Add the eggs, stirring until everything is smooth and well-combined. In a large pot, combine the drained pasta and the cheese sauce, stirring until the macaroni is evenly coated with cheese.
Transfer the pasta to a Pam-sprayed 2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle top with a handful of bread crumbs or crushed buttery crackers, if you like. (I used Progresso bread crumbs, as I had them on hand.) Bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes.
After mine looked somewhat bubbly around the edges, I turned on the broiler to gently brown the top, as this gives it that bit of a crust on top and looks nice. Here’s my final product:
Now, I do realize that you may be unhappy with the fat content in this dish. I understand. You could easily make some changes: use milk instead of cream, use light sour cream, use part-skim cheese, and use Smart Balance margarine. I used the light sour cream and cheese, as that is what I had on hand. As for the type of cheese, my cheddar was MILD, but you could move up to sharp or even extra-sharp, if you like those flavors. You could also add more red pepper flakes if you like a bit more heat. I think this is one of those great dishes that you can experiment with to find out what sets off that little explosion of joy for your tastebuds, as this recipe did for mine tonight!
If you decide to try it, would you please come back after you do to let me know how you liked it, and/or what changes you made to personalize it to your tastes? I’d love to know. Happy eating!