Ten-Minute Mac and Cheese

Ten-Minute Mac and Cheese

From Macaroni and Cheese: 52 Recipes, from Simple to Sublime
by Joan Schwartz

Serves 3-4

Well, maybe eleven — the time depends entirely upon how long the pasta cooks. Start the cheese sauce when you put the water on to boil and it will be ready by the time the pasta is done; then combine the mezzani and sauce and ladle your creamy Mac into deep bowls. Macaroni and Cheese out the box takes longer!

Chef DuFresne, who is a purist when it comes to Mac and Cheese, prepares this minimalist classic at his downtown New York restaurant, 71 Clinton Fresh Food. He doesn’t recommend adding any salt, pepper, or spices, letting the pristine flavor of American cheese carry the dish.

1/2 pound mezzani, or substitute penne or shells
2 cups whole milk
15 slices American cheese, broken into small pieces
5 tsp. of cornstarch
2 tbsp. warm water
1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs

1.Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 10 to 13 minutes.

2.Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the milk to a boil. Whisk in the cheese, lower the heat to medium, and cook until completely melted.

3.In a small bowl or cup, dissolve the cornstarch in the water and whisk it into the milk mixture; raise the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking occasionally. Remove from the heat and continue whisking until thickened slightly.

4.When the pasta is cooked, drain it well and pour it into the pot with the sauce, stirring to combine. Divide among three or four serving bowls, sprinkle with the toasted bread crumbs, and serve.

Excerpted from Macaroni and Cheese by Joan Schwartz Copyright 2001 by Joan Schwartz. Excerpted by permission of Villard, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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