I am an equal opportunity macaroni eater. I like it baked. I like it made with a roux. I even like it out of the blue box. You may think the convenience of Kraft can’t be beat, but you’d be wrong. This homemade recipe comes together in about 15 minutes, with only one pot (which you don’t have to drain) and no roux.
Photos by Claire Lower
Two things make this recipe easy and effective. For one, the pasta is boiled in milk, not water, meaning the starch released is retained, not drained. Shredded cheese is coated with a bit of cornstarch to facilitate an even, not clumpy, smooth and rich cheese sauce. It’s easy. It’s creamy. It’s hard not to eat it all in one sitting. To make it, you will need:
- 2 cups dry macaroni
- 2 1/2 cups full cream milk
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 225g shredded cheese (I used cheddar but feel free to mix it up)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon mustard of choice (yellow, Dijon and stoneground all have their merits)
- Hot sauce (optional)
Pour the milk in a sauce pan and season it with salt. Add the butter, bring it to a boil, and add the pasta. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until the macaroni is tender and the milk has thickened. If the milk evaporates too quickly, just add a little more. While the pasta is cooking, toss the cheese with cornstarch so that each strand is coated. Stir the mustard and hot sauce (to taste) into the pasta, season with salt and pepper if needed, then stir in the cheese handful by handful, letting each one melt completely before adding the next.
Consume the gooey, cheesy mass of carbs with gusto while you plan your next batch. Not only is this recipe super quick and easy, it adapts very well to variations, meaning you can churn our the cheesy experiments almost as fast as you can dream them up.
This article has been updating since it’s original publication.