beyond the blue box: stovetop mac n cheese

by Chen

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“So thick and creamy. So good”, said my cousin, Edgar.

Mac n cheese is a good way to please many people, including some adults. From a little boy to teenager, mac n cheese is still one of Edgar’s favorite dishes; the only difference is that the thing packed in the blue box is much less likely to be satisfying. Therefore, I start to switch to this one. It requires a little more work because the sauce is actually roux-based but is well worth the effort.

stovetop mac n cheese
Makes 1 serving

1 cup short-cut pasta
1/2 tsp EVOO

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 slices (1.5 oz) American cheese, torn into pieces (other melting cheese works well too)
salt and pepper

Cook the pasta in salted water according to package instructions. Drain well and toss with the EVOO. Reserve the pasta water. Set aside.

In a sauce pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the flour to the butter, whisk and cook until the raw flour smell disappears. Do NOT let it get browned. Whisk in the milk, garlic powder, and nutmeg until lump-free. When the mixture comes to a simmer, add the cheese. Keep stirring until cheese completely melts and the sauce is smooth. Return the pasta to the sauce and stir until well combined. If it gets too thick, add a little reserved pasta water. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and serve warm.

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