There are two schools of thought about macaroni and cheese: some like it crusty and extra-cheesy, while others prefer it smooth and creamy. But most people are delighted by any homemade macaroni and cheese. It is light years ahead of the boxed versions.

This creamy version has one powerful advantage for the cook: it is made with dry pasta, so there’s no need for precooking. The pasta cooks in the oven, absorbing the liquid from the dairy products.

INGREDIENTS

 

  • 2tablespoons butter
  • 1cup cottage cheese (not lowfat)
  • 2cups milk (not skim)
  • 1teaspoon dry mustard
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½teaspoon salt
  • ¼teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1pound sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½pound elbow pasta, uncooked.

 

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees and position an oven rack in upper third of oven. Use 1 tablespoon butter to butter a 9-inch round or square baking pan.
  2. In a blender, purée cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg and salt and pepper together. Reserve ¼ cup grated cheese for topping. In a large bowl, combine remaining grated cheese, milk mixture and uncooked pasta. Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.
  3. Uncover pan, stir gently, and sprinkle with reserved cheese and dot with remaining tablespoon butter. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes more, until browned. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.