Pinterest has had a lot of recipes with the one-pot method of cooking macaroni: boil the elbow noodles in milk, not water. A lot of recipes looked good, but being a total history geek, I didn't give the recipe a try until I saw it called Civil War Macaroni and Cheese. I never would have thought of this as a period dish!
A few notes here: this cooked faster than I anticipated. The original recipe said 15 minutes, but I was down to almost no milk and had tender noodles at 10. Watch it.
I also gave it a southwestern tang and added a little can of Hatch green chiles. Remember, you can customize this a hundred different ways! Mix in diced ham, bacon, or shredded beef; add veggies, or different cheeses.
Original recipe and history notes at Simply Recipes.
Civil War Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
4 cups whole milk
1/2 pound elbow macaroni pasta (2 to 2 1/2 cups)
4 Tbsp butter
2 cups, packed, grated cheddar cheese (about 1/2 pound)
4 ounce can Hatch green chiles
Freshly ground black pepper
Nutmeg/dried mustard/seasoning salt/whatever you like
Bread crumbs to top it
1) Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
2) Heat the milk in a large saucepan until steamy. Stir in the dry macaroni. Let come to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Stay by the stove! The milk can get very foamy and boil over. Cook the macaroni for 10-15 minutes or until done; the milk will be mostly absorbed.
3) As soon as the macaroni is close to being done, melt the butter in a separate saucepan, and stir in the grated cheese, black pepper, and other seasonings. Once the cheese has melted, pour the sauce into the macaroni and milk mixture and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
4) Pour macaroni and cheese mixture into a baking dish. Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs and/or additional cheese. Bake in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.
OM NOM NOM.