m. c. de marco: The New Kitchen Cookbook

Easy Mac and Cheese

While there’s nothing like the real thing, there’s also nothing like boxed mac'n'cheese. The secret is powdered cheddar cheese. The pasta in boxed mac'n'cheese isn’t exactly 100% durum wheat from Italy, so if you’re going for the total box experience, Sara Bir recommends tiny shells intended for soup. She also notes that this process is not cheaper than buying the boxed stuff on sale, though it can be cheaper than full price or at least more convenient.

The downside is that you’ll probably need to order your cheese powder online. The most popular brand of cheese powder for this purpose is Hoosier Hills; note that it’s not kosher. An organic brand, Healthier Comforts, is sometimes kosher but gets mixed reviews. Fortunately, King Arthur Flour’s Better Cheddar Cheese Powder is currently kosher.

Serves: 2–3

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. dry pasta
  • ⅓ – ½ c. milk
  • 4 T. butter
  • ½ c. powdered cheddar
  • 1 scant tsp. tapioca starch (optional)
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • dash mustard powder (optional)

Directions

  1. Cook pasta.
  2. Mix dry ingredients.
  3. Drain pasta and, optionally, set it aside.
  4. Return pot to low heat.
  5. Add butter. Stir until it melts.
  6. Add remaining ingredients and stir until smooth.
  7. If set aside, return pasta to the pot and mix to coat with cheese sauce.

Variants

These recipes frequently give volumes for pasta, which seems perilously inaccurate to me. But if you need a volume, it’s 2 cups.

The traditional bex size is only 6 oz. of pasta (1 ½ cups).

You can stretch out the sauce with reserved pasta water.