Perfect Ratio Mac & Cheese is a celebration of cheese and pasta in a combination of very few ingredients.
Total Cooking Time: 25 minutes
I love cheese. Cheese is a food group in my opinion. And it’s one that I cannot get enough of so Mac & Cheese has been one of my favorite foods. And there is so much to do with it! My partner and I have played with several different Mac and Cheese Recipes and this is one of the results from our experiments. This gooey Mac & Cheese melts in your mouth and is delicious.
This recipe only really needs four ingredients, and that’s including water! What you’ll need is pasta, evaporated milk and cheese. I call it the perfect ratio mac & cheese because all ingredients parts are equal for the pasta, evaporated milk and cheese!
For pasta, we have used a few different types, but elbow pasta is a classic so it’s hard to go wrong with that kind of pasta. We like to use a mix of sharp cheddar and American for the cheese. Having some American (at least 1 oz.) in the cheese mixture is needed to get the right texture for the sauce. The remaining amount is entirely up to you! We have mixed multiple different cheddars together; we’ve played with adding mozzarella. It’s really a good time to experiment and find the taste that works best for you!
The process for the perfect ratio mac & cheese is fairly simple but a little unusual for how I would normally go about making pasta. The first step will be to submerge the pasta in water in the cooking pot. Now, while this may be in a cooking pot – there will be no heat involved. We want the water to naturally hydrate the pasta. It’s really important to note that thicker pasta will need more water to hydrate than thinner pasta. The pasta should have the same look as if it was fully cooked.
Then it’s time to turn on the burner and bring the water to a boil. This will get rid of any excess water in the pot but leave all of the starchy goodness in some of the water to make the sauce. Once at a boil, we’ll add our evaporated milk and bring the liquid back to a boil. After you see the rolling bubbles from the boiling liquid, you’ll want to turn the heat on low. Like super low. As low as it can go! (You can even take it off the heat at this point).
We will then add the cheese in waves. All the cheese we’re using should be shredded and like I say above in ingredients, feel free to have fun with it! We like to use ¼ part American and ¾ part cheddar but it’s really whatever you like! You’ll want to stir in each wave of cheese and have it fully melted before adding more. I generally add it in about 5 parts.
Once all the cheese is melted, it’s ready to enjoy! You can add salt and pepper to taste, but it’s perfectly fine without either as the base ingredients carry a great amount of flavor.
Thickening with the Ingredients
I know that mac & cheese is often made with a roux as a thickening agent. But don’t underestimate the thickening abilities of the starchy pasta water! That’s why we like using recipes that don’t drain away all that goodness. In this recipe, the American cheese is also acting as a thickening agent as well.
Perfect Ratio Mac & Cheese
- 12 oz Evaporated Milk Chilled
- 12 oz Pasta elbows are a favorite
- 9 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded
- 3 oz American Cheese shredded
- Pour Pasta into cooking pan
- Fully submerge dry pasta in water, allow to full hydrate.
- Place pan on medium to high heat. Bring to a boil.
- Add evaporated milk. Bring back to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, slowly add in cheese in multiple stages – make sure the cheese melts into the pasta before adding the next stage.
- Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste.