Last night after working on Christmas cards for a couple hours I went digging through the refrigerator for something easy for dinner. What I found was very disturbing…a container from a local restaurant containing what was definitely Kraft Easy Mac. I ate enough of it in college to be an expert on the product and I couldn’t believe that a restaurant was pawning this off for $3 per side.
Macaroni and Cheese is a dish that is as American as apple pie and everyone has their favorite iteration of it, usually depending on what their grandmother prepared for them when they were young. My grandma liked to use American cheese and a cheese sauce, others prefer to use custards and other cheeses.
The sauce I make for mac and cheese is extremely simple, using only several ingredients: Heavy whipping cream, cornstarch, white American cheese, kosher salt and ground white pepper. Simply heat the heavy cream until it reaches a simmer. Prepare a slurry by stirring cold water into corn starch until it reaches a pourable consistency. Whisk enough cornstarch slurry into the simmering cream for it to thicken to the point that the cream coats the back of a spoon. You should be able to run a line across the back of the spoon with your finger without the sauce running. Then fold in white American cheese until it reaches the desired flavor and consistency. Season to taste with kosher salt and ground white pepper.
Typically I use fresh pasta and boil it as needed. Fresh macaroni can be tricky to find, but shells or other extruded shapes work just as well…the key is to make sure the pasta is fresh and not dried. When boiling fresh pasta you’ll need to keep a close eye on it as it cooks much faster than dried pasta.
Toss the fresh pasta with the cheese sauce and taste for seasoning. The mixture can be topped with more white American cheese and baked, or served as-is.
This is a side of macaroni and cheese I would gladly pay $3 for, and it is almost as quick and easy as Kraft!