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Slow-Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Updated January 27, 2017
This image courtesy of Shutterstock

I love old-fashioned pasta tubes in a rich cheesy sauce, and this version, made with fontina cheese, is my favorite. While commercial macaroni and cheese has gotten quite the bad reputation as a convenience food, this Roman rendition will bring the childhood favorite back to your heart with its delicious, satisfying personality. The evaporated milk and egg replace flour as the thickening agent that binds together the oven-baked version. Do not attempt this without the canned milk (you can use skim if you like), as it stabilizes the sauce and prevents it from curdling, which all fresh-milk sauces do in the slow cooker environment. For a special touch, you can sauté some fresh bread crumbs in butter or olive oil and sprinkle them over the top before serving. Serve this with a tossed green salad with tangy vinaigrette and Chianti for a glorious little feast.

Serves2 generously with leftovers

Cooking MethodSlow Cooking

CostInexpensive

Easy

Total Timeunder 4 hours

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCooking for a date

Recipe CourseMain Course

Dietary ConsiderationHalal, Kosher, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegetarian

EquipmentCrock Pot

MealDinner

Taste and TextureCheesy, Creamy

Type of DishPasta

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups milk
  • One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded Italian fontina cheese
  • ½ pound elbow macaroni or mini penne tubes, parcooked and drained
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Spray the bottom and sides of the inside of the slow cooker with nonstick vegetable spray, or grease with olive oil. Combine the milk, evaporated milk, eggs, butter, and salt in the slow cooker and whisk until smooth, by hand or using an immersion blender. Add the fontina cheese and macaroni, then grind plenty of black pepper over all; gently stir with a rubber spatula to coat evenly. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on the top. Cover and cook on HIGH for 30 minutes.

  2. Reduce the temperature to LOW and cook for 2 to 2½ hours, until the custard is set in the center and the pasta is tender. The macaroni and cheese may sit in the cooker on the KEEP WARM setting for 30 minutes before serving.

Notes

  1. Cooker: 3 quart

  2. Setting and cook times: High for 30 minutes, then Low for 2 to 2½ hours

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