All ages of eaters will delight in the heartiness of this deeply comforting dish. Using evaporated milk for the cheese sauce concentrates its creaminess for a satisfying, homestyle meal that everyone will love.
12 ounces elbow macaroni (roughly 3 cups)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
12 ounces (1 can) full fat evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butter
12 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 pound Armanino ½ oz Gourmet Beef Meatballs, defrosted
Place the macaroni in a medium saucepan, add the salt and just enough cold water to cover (about 3 ½ cups water in a 3 quart pan).
Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently.
Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until water has been almost completely absorbed and the macaroni is just short of al dente, roughly half the amount of time listed on the pasta box (usually around 4 minutes).
Add the evaporated milk and butter and bring back to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low, stir in the mustard powder, onion powder, hot sauce and remaining salt then add the grated cheese.
Adding the frozen meatballs to the mix could overcook the pasta while they heat through. Its best to defrost the meatballs first – either overnight in the refrigerator, on the counter for 30 minutes or microwave for 2 minutes.
Sometimes, a crunchy breadcrumb topping is called for. In a large bowl combine 2 cups of panko breadcrumbs, 4oz grated cheddar and 4 tablespoons melted butter. Turn the finished mac & cheese into a buttered casserole dish, top with the breadcrumbs and bake in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes until golden brown.
For a smooth sauce, grate the cheese from a block. Pre-grated cheese has cellulose and starches to keep the strands separated. This can make a slightly grainy sauce but can’t be beat for convenience so choose your battles.