Unlike most mac and cheese recipes out there, this one doesn’t require you to make a béchamel sauce. Usually béchamel adds an unbeatable creamy, rich consistency but here a bit of evaporated milk thickens the mac and cheese, doing the work for you. Any type of short pasta will work; we used cavatappi because we love its springy coils. Three varieties of cheese might seem excessive, but they’re all necessary (decadent is in this dish’s title for a reason). Gruyere adds complexity, cheddar brings a sharp tang, and American cheese—don’t turn up your nose—adds a gooey, melty, yummy, extra-cheesiness we loved as kids.
3 cups short pasta (such as macaroni or cavatelli)
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
2 (12-oz.) cans evaporated milk
⅓ cup skim milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch cayenne pepper
8 ounces processed American cheese slices, torn (about 2 cups)
8 ounces Gruyère, grated (about 2 cups)
8 ounces sharp Cheddar, grated (about 2 cups)
Sat fat 32.71g
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and return the hot pasta to the pot. Add the butter, tossing until melted.
Whisk together the evaporated milk, skim milk, eggs, salt, nutmeg, and cayenne in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the American cheese, Gruyère, and Cheddar.
Spread ⅓ of the pasta in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with ⅓ of the cheese mixture. Repeat with the remaining pasta and cheese, then pour the milk mixture over the top. Bake until warmed through and golden, 20 to 30 minutes.
How to freeze and reheat: Bake, cool completely, then wrap the dish tightly in plastic wrap and foil and freeze. Defrost before reheating. Remove the plastic wrap and re-cover with the foil, then bake in a 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until warmed through.
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