Mac and Cheese

1/2 lb. elbow macaroni (about 2 cups)*
1 (12-oz.) can reduced-fat evaporated milk
3/4 cup 2% milk
1/4 t. dry mustard
1/8 t. garlic powder or celery salt (optional)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 t. cornstarch
8 oz. 50% light cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups)**

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in 2 t. salt and macaroni and cook until pasta is completely cooked. (You don’t want it al dente.) Drain pasta and leave it in colander.

In the now empty pan, add the evaporated milk, 1/2 cup of the 2% milk, mustard, garlic powder, cayenne and 1/2 t. salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Whisk cornstarch into remaining 1/4 cup milk and whisk into simmering mixture. Continue to simmer, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened and smooth, about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the grated cheddar cheese until melted and smooth. Stir in the cooked macaroni and let the mac and cheese sit off the heat until it is thickened slightly, about 2 to 5 minutes, before serving.

*I used Barilla Piccolini (Mini-penne) just for fun. Use whatever small pasta you like.

* *Cooks Illustrated highly recommends Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar cheese, which is available in 8-ounce blocks. Do not use pre-shredded cheese. Cabot makes this cheese in both white and orange. I used white.

Note: The first time I made this, I poured the mixture into a sprayed gratin dish, topped it with dry bread crumbs and a bit of leftover shredded cheese and ran it under the broiler until the top was browned.

Serves: 5
8 Poodles