New-Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese
I love macaroni and cheese, but during the week, I never make it the classic way because I don’t have time to first make a white sauce, then cook the macaroni, assemble the dish, and finally put it in the oven to bake.
So I’ve come up with a technique that eases the work and speeds up the process. Choose the larger amount of cheese if you prefer a more powerful flavor.
Especially Good for Children: Use the smaller amount of cheese and omit the Worcestershire and Tabasco. Grown-ups can drizzle these seasonings over their portions.
Cooking Time25 min
Cooking Time - Text25
Total Timeunder 30 minutes
Recipe Coursemain course, side dish
Dietary Considerationmain course, side dish
Taste and Texturecheesy, creamy, rich, savory, sharp, umami
Type of Dishdry pasta
- ¼ to ½ pound sharp Cheddar cheese, or half Cheddar and Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups milk, whole or skim
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ pound (2 cups) elbow macaroni
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 to 3 drops Tabasco sauce, or more to taste
Grate the cheese, or if you’re feeling too lazy to take out the grater (as I always am), cut the cheese into paper-thin slices or into cubes no larger than ½ inch. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.
Whisk the milk and cornstarch together in a medium-size saucepan (not aluminum or iron) and set aside.
Add the macaroni to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
At the same time, slowly bring the milk and cornstarch to a simmer, whisking constantly, over medium heat. As the milk comes to a simmer, it will thicken. Stir three-quarters of the cheese into the sauce and reduce the heat to very low. Cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese melts. Add the remaining cheese, remove the pan from the heat, and let the remaining cheese melt. Add the Worcestershire sauce and season to taste with salt, pepper, and Tabasco.
Drain the elbows thoroughly and toss them with the sauce before serving or simply ladle the sauce over the pasta. Serve immediately.
To turn this into a complete meal, thaw 2 packages (10 ounces each) chopped spinach. Place the thawed spinach in a strainer and squeeze out as much moisture as you can with your hands. After the milk thickens, stir in the spinach before you add the cheese and proceed as directed.
1991, 1995 by Michele Urvater