Two amateur chefs will enter the kitchen; only one will leave victorious; both will leave with kick-ass mac and cheese.
The Competitors: -Chris "The Microwave Magician" - Tom "The Stove Sorcerer"
The Game: Mac and Cheese
The Ingredients: Whatever necessary, that's right "playing by the jungle rules"
Tom "The Stove Sorcerer": Knowing that my sister would go with microwave noodles and sauce, I knew that the quality of my noodles would be what set my mac and cheese apart. I also knew that having a constant flame under my sauce would allow me to combine more spices and cheeses for a more interesting taste. First, I heated milk and heavy whipping cream in a small pot over medium heat...stirring it...ever so gently... round and round the whisk would go...creating a vortex of delectability. I added two type of cheese: New York Extra Sharp Cheddar and Wisconsin Classic Cheddar.
I added a few, I don't even know how many, teaspoons of cornstarch. I find the best way to cook noodles is to: 1) Bring 4-6 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add salt to taste, if desired. 2) Add contents of package to boiling water. Stir gently. 3)Return to a boil. For authentic "al dente" pasta, boil uncovered, sitrring occasionally for 8 minuted. For more tender pasta, boil an additional 1 minute. 4) Remove from heat. Drain well. 5) Serve immediately with your favorite Barilla sauce. (Chris' note: if that step seems a little out of place, it is because all of these steps were stolen straigh from Barilla's pasta box.)
I then put pasta in the bowl, poured sauce on top, grated some more Wisconsin Cheddar on top. Then I added my secret ingredients: mustard powder and paprika. For those of you recreating this recipe, add the mustard and paprika when you add the cheese to sauce. Enjoy.
Chris "The Microwave Magician": Tom loves spices, so I decided to keep my mac and cheese simple. First, put the raw pasta (about a pint's worth) in a microwavable bowl. For the cream sauce, microwave about a cup of milk until it is near boiling (2 to three minutes), then add three teaspoons of cornstarch and stir until it is dissolved. Add a grated mix of Wisconsin and New York Sharp Cheddars and Dubliner's cheese and stir the mixture until the cheeses were mostly melted. Then, microwave the mixture for about another minute and stir everything again. Pour the mixture on top of the noodles. The mixture needs to cover the noodles or else they won't cook all the way.
Microwave on high for 5 minutes then stir the noodles and sauce and microwave again for 5 more minutes. If after 10 minutes, the noodles are still too firm, let them sit for about 3 minutes and check again. If still too firm then cook for a minute and check again. But a caveat! Do NOT put them in for another 5 minutes, once noodles start to cook they can overcook really easily.
Top with some grated extra cheese. Omnom!
Taste Test: The mother was then given a blind taste test of the two mac and cheeses. Unfortunately before she even tasted them she knew which was which...so no actual verdict was reached. She critiqued both and offered no real controversy for this post...alas... However, my brother and I determined that both stove and microwave versions of macaroni and cheese work and that both are truly kick ass.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS! (and congrats to all of you who finished exams finals!!! yayyy!)