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Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese
serves 4 as a main course or 6 to 8 as a side dish
If you’re in a hurry or prefer to sprinkle the dish with crumbled crackers (saltines aren’t bad), you can skip the bread crumb step. To make fresh bread crumbs, trim crusts from about 5 slices of good-quality white bread (we like Pepperidge Farm Toasting White) and grind them in the food processor until evenly fine-textured, 20 to 30 seconds.

toasted bread crumbs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
Pinch salt

creamy macaroni and cheese
2 large eggs
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard, dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces sharp cheddar, American, or Monterey Jack cheese, grated (about 3 cups)

1. For the bread crumbs: Heat butter in large skillet over medium heat until foam subsides. Add bread crumbs; cook, tossing to coat with butter, until crumbs just begin to color, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt; set aside.

2. For the macaroni and cheese: Mix eggs, 1 cup evaporated milk, pepper sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and mustard mixture in small bowl; set aside.

3. Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts water to a boil in large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and macaroni; cook until almost tender but still a little firm to the bite. Drain and return to pan over low heat. Add butter; toss to melt.

4. Pour egg mixture over buttered noodles along with three-quarters of cheese; stir until thoroughly combined and the cheese starts to melt. Gradually add remaining milk and cheese, stirring constantly, until mixture is hot and creamy, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately, topped with toasted bread crumbs.

“Baked” Macaroni and Cheese
This dish is for those who prefer their macaroni and cheese served out of a baking dish. Smooth and creamy like the stovetop version, this version is broiled just long enough to brown the crumb topping.

Follow recipe for Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese, pouring cooked macaroni and cheese into 9-inch-square gratin dish (or another heatproof baking dish of similar dimensions). Spread crumbs

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