Macaroni and Cheese in a Pot
Macaroni and Cheese in a Pot takes advantage of the starchiness of noodles to make a creamy cheese sauce without a roux or béchamel.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup breadcrumbs, preferably homemade
4 cups whole milk
1 pound elbow macaroni or other cut pasta
1 ⁄ 4 cup cream cheese, softened
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (about 12 ounces)
1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring often, until they’re golden and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; wipe out the pot.
2. Put 3 cups milk and the pasta in the pot and sprinkle with salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often, then adjust the heat so it bubbles steadily. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, then start tasting. You want the pasta to be tender but still with a tiny bit of crunch; it could take as long as 15 minutes. Meanwhile, the mixture should be neither soupy nor dry; add 1 ⁄ 4 cup milk if necessary.
3. Stir in the cream cheese, cheddar, and enough of the remaining milk to make a thick sauce. Stir until the cheese is melted and fully incorporated. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Top with the breadcrumbs and serve hot.