We make restaurant-quality mac 'n cheese. Happy to share the recipe.
1 2/3 cups dry, small elbow macaroni, cooked and drained (or more, up to 3 c.)*
small amount of butter or margarine (< 2 tsp.) (to keep pasta from sticking while sauce is made)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk (regular, low-fat, or fat-free)
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided**
bread crumbs (optional)
olive oil or butter (optional)
1. Grease 2-quart casserole dish. Grate cheese before beginning the sauce. The finer you grate or shred it, the better it mixes. Cook pasta and drain it, then return it to the pan with just enough butter or margarine to keep it from sticking to itself. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Combine cornstarch, salt, mustard and pepper in medium saucepan (2.5 to 3 qt.). Stir in evaporated milk, water, and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. This takes about 25 minutes. Boil for 1 minute without stirring. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese until melted. (Stir in all the cheese if you will top with crumbs.) Add macaroni; mix well. Tip: Set aside some of the pasta if there's any doubt there's enough sauce for all of it. It's easy to add more. Keep adding cooked pasta until it seems like adding more will leave the macaroni without enough sauce. It's easy to tell when to stop.
3. Pour into prepared casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese or with a mix of bread crumbs (seasoned with salt and pepper) blended with melted butter or olive oil until it resembles coarse wet sand, sprinkled over the top. (We prefer the crumbs.)
4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese topping is melted and light brown or until the crumb topping is well browned and the mixture is bubbling. Serves easier if allowed to stand a few minutes.
* Pasta which holds sauce better--ruffles, rotini, etc.--works even better. If you use medium shells, you can go ever higher in quantity, up to 4 c. before cooking.