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Preheat oven to 350. Boil the macaroni until just barely done in salted water. Drain and toss with the butter in a large, ovenproof mixing bowl. Mix the Tabasco into the evaporated milk. Reserving about 1/3 cup, stir the milk into the macaroni, then add 3/4 of the cheese, the eggs and the mustard. When well combined, season to taste with salt and pepper and set the bowl in the oven. Every five minutes, remove it briefly to stir in some of the reserved cheese, adding more evaporated milk as necessary to keep the mixture moist and smooth. When all the cheese has been incorporated and the mixture is nicely hot and creamy (which should take 20 minutes all told), serve at once with a plate of toasted common crackers to crumble over. >From Simple Cooking, 1987, ISBN 0-670-81212-9 Cooks Illustrated preparation variation: Heat oven to 350F. Mix bread crumb ingredients together in small baking pan. Bake until golden brown and crisp, 15-20 minutes. Set aside Meanwhile, mix eggs, 1 cup of the evaporated milk, pepper sauce, 1/2 tsp. of the salt, pepper and mustard mixture in a small bowl; set aside. Meanwhile, heat 2 quarts water to boil in large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven. Add 1 1/2 tsp of the salt and macaroni; cook until almost tender, but still a little firm to the bite. Drain and return to pan over low heat. Add butter; toss to melt. Pour egg mixture over buttered noodles along with three-quarters of the cheese (Cooks Illustrated calls for 12 oz cheese instead of 1 full pound); stir until thoroughly combined and cheese starts to melt. Gradually add remaining milk and cheese, stirring constantly, until mixture is hot and creamy, about 5 minutes (it took me 15 to 20 minutes, though I probably had the heat too low. It seemed as if it would never thicken, then started to all of a sudden.). Serve immediately topped with toasted bread crumbs. Posted to FOODWINE Digest by rtf
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