I remember when I was young and needed some paste for a school project. We didn’t have any at home so someone in the family showed me how to make paste with water and flour. It worked.
The process of making macaroni starts with kneading semolina flour and water into a smooth dough. Unlike other forms of pasta, not many home cooks would attempt to make macaroni because special equipment is needed for the shaping. It is much easier to just pick up a bag or box of macaroni at the supermarket.
Ask any child to name his or her favorite food, and more than likely the answer will be mac-and-cheese. I must admit that it is one of my favorites, also.
The following recipe for Simple Macaroni and Cheese is my stove-top version. The Velveeta adds a special smoothness to the dish and the cheddar adds extra flavor.
Some cooks prefer to make their macaroni and cheese with a basic white sauce to which the cheese is added. While working on recipes for another cookbook, I decided to experiment a little with macaroni and cheese using the white sauce technique. I don’t know if the Three Cheese Macaroni will ever replace my Simple Macaroni and Cheese, but it is a tasty change.
For an entirely different flavor, you might enjoy my Ranchero Macaroni Bake. It still has macaroni and cheese in it, but it gets a flavor boost from the addition of salsa and a topping of tortilla chips.
12 ounce package of macaroni
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk or cream
8 ounces Velveeta cheese
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain but do not rinse. Add butter and milk. Stir. Return to low heat. Add small chunks of Velveeta and stir until melted. Add cheddar cheese and stir. When melted, season with salt and black pepper to taste. Serve warm.
THREE CHEESE MACARONI
8 ounces dry elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups shredded American and cheddar cheese blend
3 ounces cream cheese
Cook macaroni according to package directions. While macaroni is cooking, prepare the sauce. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Stir in flour and gradually add milk, whisking to incorporate the butter/flour mixture. When smooth, add 2 cups of the American cheddar cheese and the cream cheese (in small chunks). Cook over medium heat, whisking continuously until smooth and slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the drained macaroni. Pour into buttered dish (about 8x12 inches). Sprinkle top with remaining American cheddar cheese. Bake in 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese on top is melted.
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
6 cups hot cooked elbow macaroni (about 3 cups dry)
3 cups shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (12 ounces)
1 cup salsa
1 cup crushed tortilla chips
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine soup and milk. Stir in macaroni, cheese and salsa. Spoon into a 3-quart oblong baking dish. Bake for about 20 minutes, stir. Sprinkle chips over top. Return to oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until hot and bubbling.