This is a gateway to a southern style of mac and cheese that’s home to the barbecue kings and biker bars that dot the Carolina’s. Easy to make comfort food and a classic summer side dish!
No roux, no béchamel, no mornay. Oh but it will be just as creamy, and rich in flavor as any mac and cheese that uses the aforementioned techniques. Never underestimate the south’s ability to nail comfort food without getting fancy.
As for the Carolinas, they’re famed for a particular style of smoked pork barbecue where the sauces used are heavily based on vinegar and mustard. This unique style has put BBQ restaurants on the map throughout North and South Carolina, many of which are themed for and accommodate bikers who enjoy riding under perfect Carolina blue skies all summer.
And where there’s pork barbecue, there’s mac ‘n cheese!
This recipe will introduce you to the simple and effective style of baking mac & cheese in layers of quite simply; macaroni, freshly grated cheddar and mozzarella (or jack), eggs, butter, milk, cream, and some seasoning. And that’s it! It’s just layering twice and getting the baking dish size, time, and temperature right.
Okay so without further ado let’s get to it!
Ingredients: (Fills a 1 Quart Baking Dish)
- 1 Cup of uncooked Macaroni noodles.
- 1 Cup Freshly Grated Sharp Cheddar (4oz in block form)
- 1 Cup Freshly Grated Mozzarella (4oz in block form)
- 1 Cup Whole Milk
- 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Chili Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
- Total Fat: 28g
- Cholesterol: 124mg
- Sodium: 796mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 47g
- Dietary Fiber: 0g
- Sugar: 5g
- Protein: 24g
- Vitamin D: 0%
- Calcium: 49%
- Iron: 1.2%
- Potassium: 45mg
- Vitamin A: 16%
- Vitamin C1%
- Bring a medium sized pot to a roaring boil and boil 1 Cup of Macaroni noodles until al dente. Usually takes about 7 minutes. Taste test one noodle at 7 minutes. You want it firm but not crunchy, and tender enough to chew but not mushy. That’s our Macaroni happy place.
- Remove pasta from heat and strain in a colander. Rinse in cool running water and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl add cooked pasta, 1 cup of whole milk, 1/4 cup of heavy cream, 1 large egg, and seasonings; salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder. Mix together until egg is fully combined. No need to whisk egg before hand.
- Add in 1 Tablespoon of Butter and 1 Cup of freshly grated Mozzarella cheese. That would be 4 ounces in its block form, and you should never use pre-shredded bag cheese as they are dusted in cellulose powder which is designed to PREVENT the shredded cheese from mending, forming together, sticking, or binding. Imagine what that will do after baking… (hint) It’s gonna be grainy.
- Combine all ingredients by mixing together. Cheese and butter do not need to melt during this stage, contrary to popular belief.
- Layer One: In a 1 quart baking dish add half of your mixing bowl contents, followed by half of your cheddar; 1/2 Cup, or in block form 2oz.
- Layer Two: Add in the rest of your mixing bowl contents, followed by a final layer of 1/2 Cup of shredded Cheddar cheese for our crust.
- Bake at 375° for 40 minutes, optionally broiling for 1 minute depending on desired crispiness to the crust.