There's something about the way plain old macaroni cooks to a soft, silky texture that enhances the creaminess of this dish. Each hollow noodle gets coated inside and out with luscious sauce. Although we rarely use processed cheese, here it's the key to a supercreamy texure that does not rely on heavy cream. We tested lots of mac and cheese recipes, and none was as velvety as this one. It has half the fat and calories of traditional versions with no loss of richness.
Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour in a large saucepan. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat until thick (about 8 minutes), stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat; let stand 4 minutes or until sauce cools to 155°. Add cheeses, and stir until the cheeses melt. Stir in cooked macaroni, salt, and black pepper.
Spoon mixture into a 2-quart glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine crushed toasts, oil, and garlic in small bowl; stir until well blended. Sprinkle over macaroni mixture. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
This recipe originally ran in Cooking Light September, 1996 and was updated for the November, 2012 25th anniversary issue.
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I have made this many times, using whatever cheeses and crackers I have around. I always use cornstarch (50% less) instead of flour for a smoother result & no flour taste. I add garlic, green onions, and a little dry mustard. Made it once with crushed Ranch croutons, and that was terrific
This was a huge hit with the adults and the kids in our family. I skipped the Velveeta (yuck!) and subbed extra fontina in its place. I also used garlic toast made from stale baguettes (bought already made at the grocery store, then pounded to crumbs at home) for the melba toast and doubled the amount of it. I also used an extra clove of garlic. Instead of doubling the canola oil, though, I just sprayed some canola oil cooking spray on it while I was mixing it.
Just won major brownie points from the boyfriend and roommate for making this! Used triscuits instead of melba toasts and added freshly grated nutmeg, cayenne and a little tumeric (for the health benefit- you do not taste it at all!). Only baked the mac n' cheese for 20 minutes to keep it super creamy. For those that don't want to spend the money on fontina cheese, use what you have on hand: for example, I used a dutch gouda, sharp cheddar, parm and american cheese (instead of Velveeta).