Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Macaroni & Cheese Project: Recipe 004

Salt, to taste
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 (12-ounce) can 2 % reduced-fat evaporated milk
2/3 cup low-fat milk (2 %)
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt (optional)
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons cornstarch
8 ounces 50 percent light cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
4 ounces fontina cheese, grated

1. Bring 2 1/2 quarts water to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt and the macaroni; cook until the pasta is completely cooked and tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta and leave it in the colander; set aside.
2. Add the evaporated milk, 1/2 cup of the 2 percent milk, mustard, garlic powder (if using), cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the now-empty saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Whisk the cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup milk together, then whisk it into the simmering mixture. Continue to simmer, whisking constantly, until the sauce has thickened and is smooth, about 2 minutes.

3. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cheddar and gruyere until melted and smooth. Stir in the macaroni, and let the macaroni and cheese sit off the heat until the sauce has thickened slightly, 2 to 5 minutes.


DIFFICULTY: Very easy.

TEXTURE: Creanmy and smooth, yet it has a nice, thick texture. The longer you leave it on the stove, the thicker it becomes. Mmm.

TASTE: I'm realizing that fontina is the magic cheese. It makes everything taste wonderful! The extra spices gave the mac'n cheese extra depth.

REHEAT FACTOR: On pulling it out of the fridge, I noticed that it congealed into one large mass of mac'n cheese, similar to baked macaroni. Once nuked, it was a bit drier, but tasted just fine.

OVERALL: I was surprisingly pleased with this stovetop version of mac'n cheese. I would definitely make it again. I give this recipe 4½ out of 5 stars.

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