I grew up on Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Damn, that stuff was good (still is)! But the time came when that orangey, cheese-like powder was just not cutting it for me anymore. Slowly but surely, I started coming to terms with the fact that macaroni and cheese should, in fact, be macaroni and cheese. As in real, gooey, non-neon cheese. Don’t you agree?
Easy Stovetop Macaroni with Peas and Cheese
adapted from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite
8 ounces elbow or shells pasta
1 tablespoon of butter
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of frozen peas
3 tablespoons of heavy cream
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
1/2 to 1 cup (or more) of Parmesan, Gruyere and cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper, to taste
In a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta according to package directions.
In a large skillet over low to medium heat, melt the butter with the oil for a few minutes.
Stir in peas and cook for a minute. Add heavy cream and pepper. Stir and let cook for about 2-5 minutes.
Drain pasta (reserve a bit of pasta water) and add to skillet with peas. Drizzle with lemon juice.
Stir in the cheese until pasta is completely covered. Add a touch of pasta water, if necessary.
Serve and top with more Parmesan, if desired.
Gruyere, cheddar and Parmesan cheeses are the dream team. The slight sweetness and softness of the Gruyere with the sharpness of the cheddar and Parmesan made me a little weak in the knees. And I’m not stopping here because mac and cheese is one of the fun, versatile recipes that can be made any which way. It can be baked, crusted with bread crumbs or cooked with garlic or chili peppers. And of course, it requires extra cheese (more than what the recipe calls for). Of course.
p.s. I still give in to boxed mac and cheese from time to time. Only I’ve moved on from Kraft to Annie’s. Tastes just as good, only better for you.