I don’t know about you, but I love macaroni and cheese.
OK, who doesn’t like macaroni and cheese? It’s one of those all-American foods.
Until recently, however, I hadn’t had macaroni and cheese in quite a while. Needless to say, it’s not exactly available or common here in Japan. For the most part, they’re not that into cheese here.
Anyway, last time we were visiting the U.S., Hisa and I bought a couple boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese. This is the stuff I grew up with. It’s part of the essence of my childhood, so I was pretty excited to finally eat it again when we came back to Japan.
Sadly, I was a little disappointed. Although it was good, it simply tasted…artificial. It wasn’t nearly as good as I remember it being in my childhood. I also realized that it’s freakish neon orange coloring disturbed me. I avoided even looking at the ingredients list, because I knew I would find unrecognizable ingredients with really long, scientific sounding names.
I realized that nowadays I make most things from scratch, so why should macaroni and cheese be any different? I began looking online at various mac and cheese recipes and discovered it’s quite simple. You just make a roux with butter and flour, add milk, whisk until it thickens, add cheese, then add your cooked pasta. Bam. Easy, yeah?
But then, I discovered an even easier recipe at Heavenly Homemakers! With this recipe, you simply cook the pasta in milk instead of water. The starch from the pasta thickens the milk into a sauce, then when the pasta is done you had your shredded cheese, stir, and it’s done! I wondered if it could really be that easy to cook mac and cheese, so I tried it out last night, and it was fabulous! Creamy and cheesy and delicious!
The one thing you need to be careful of is to not heat the milk too high. You want it so that it’s almost boiling, but not quite. If you heat the milk to high it will burn, separate, and become generally inedible. Also, you want to stir the milk/pasta almost constantly. If you use a small pasta like, well, macaroni, it doesn’t take that long. And it’s sooooo worth it! Four simple, whole, ingredients, and no neon orange anywhere!
Macaroni & Cheese (serves 2 – 3)
- 2 1/2 c. dried macaroni
- 3 c. whole milk (you can use 1% or skim, but it won’t get nearly as creamy)
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1 c. shredded cheese
- Add milk, macaroni, and salt to a pot, and cook over med. heat so that the milk is almost, but not quite boiling. Stir constantly until pasta becomes al dente, about 8 – 10 minutes (this depends of the type of pasta you use).
- Add cheese and stir until completely melted and incorporated. Serve immediately.