Scratch Mac & Cheese

Scratch Mac & Cheese

We are back to the basics. Pulling up our bootstraps and tying on an apron which for many of us may feel a little foreign and for others feels like another day with a little extra meaning. Cooking is something that is a part of our cultural heritage and when in crisis has the ability to calm.

With all your time now spent at home, we hope, the opportunity to cook from scratch is here. Accept the challenge and be creative. Over the next few weeks our “merry band of makers” will be sharing what they are making to feed their families and capturing it as inspiration for your family to do the same. We are in the business of making mealtime a little more beautiful, colorful and easy.

And easy it can be- Homemade Mac and Cheese. It’s the real deal with only three steps and in less than half an hour. Creamy, silky and refreshingly flavorful. Kids will love it and so will anyone in the room who can think back to the days before the boxed stuff. Find a fun pasta to make it feel new again- cavatappi was one I fell in love with this time, then plate it, cup it, scoop it in a bowl and sit together to enjoy!

WORDS OF WISDOM

Whatever you do, use caution: The sauce in the pot should be thinner than you’d want it to be in the finished dish. It will continue to thicken as it is absorbed into the pasta or reduces in the cooking process. You should always continue cooking the pasta and sauce over a low heat for a couple of minutes after combining, allowing time for the cheese to adhere and absorb into the pasta.

This recipe calls for milk, cream cheese and Cheddar. If you are thinking about skipping the cream cheese, don’t. The emulsifiers in it are what binds the sauce, preventing it from breaking (rendering a flour roux unnecessary which for many can be the one word that feels daunting in scratch cooking).

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound elbows, shells, cavatappi, farfalle, fusilli or other short, tube-shaped pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 12 ounces sharp or white Cheddar, grated
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Freshly ground pepper

PREPARATION

  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water until just barely al dente; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, bring milk up to a simmer in a large pot. (The pot should be large enough to hold all the pasta when cooked.) Reduce heat to low, add cream cheese, and whisk until it’s completely blended and no lumps remain. Add Cheddar cheese and butter, whisking until everything is completely melted. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper.
  3. Add cooked pasta and stir to coat. Continue to cook over medium-low heat until the sauce has thickened and is coating each piece of pasta nicely, 2 to 3 minutes; sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Season again.

 



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