Make Better Boxed Mac & Cheese, Add an Egg Yolk

Photo: P Maxwell Photography (Shutterstock)

I love Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. I enjoy it when prepared according to the package instructions, but I’m also prone to tweaking it by substituting buttermilk for regular, browning the butter, adding crème fraîche, or—as of this morning—stirring in an egg yolk.

Mixing an egg yolk into a steaming pile of carbs is not a new concept. The Japanese dish tamago kake gohan is a straightforward and delicious example of the form: Crack a raw egg (or egg yolk) over a pile of hot rice, mix it in, and season with soy sauce. The heat from the rice lightly cooks the egg, creating a saucy, custardy, comforting mixture.

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I’ve applied a similar method to a bowl of grits—to excellent results—and thought I’d try it with a bowl of Kraft. The impulse was a good one.

The macaroni didn’t taste eggy, but it did taste better—a little creamier, noticeably richer, and a touch glossier. Much like tamago kake gohan, it developed a custardy quality. The results tasted a little more homemade, which makes sense when you consider eggs are a fairly common ingredient in baked macaroni and cheese recipes.

To make your own, prepare the macaroni (mostly) according to the package instructions: Cook the noodles until al dente, then drain them and return them to the pan with half a stick of butter, stirring until melted. Add the cheese powder, stir, then splash in just enough half & half to dissolve the last of the powdery cheese clumps. Finally, add a single orange yolk to the already orange noodles, then stir until it emulsifies into the sauce (which it will do beautifully).

If you are tiring of your standard boxed mac, I urge you to give it a try with an egg. The blue box may not “need” elevating, but it sure is fun to zhush.

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