Retro Recipe: Susan's Macaroni, Tomato, and Cheese
There were only pre-packaged singles of American, which I could have melted, but it seemed kind of like a pain. The Velveeta, which I figured would be next best, only came in a huge 2lb block. I finally settled on reduced-fat cheddar, one because it was the right size and five bucks cheaper (retro thriftiness did me in) and two because although I am sure process Cheddar is not reduced anything, low-fat cheese was more likely to give a plasticy texture. However, 8 oz. of the cheese gave me about three loose cups shredded; one more than I should have had according to the recipe. I lived dangerously and used it all.
I was a bit surprised when I tasted it – I didn’t think the sauce would be thick enough, or that it would reach all of the noodles – but it’s good. I went back for seconds. Normally, baked tomatoes I think are kind of weird, but they reminded me of how good a grilled cheese with tomato is, and their addition in the middle definitely brings in more flavor. The sauce is just on the thin side (possibly because of the milk; I used the 2% in the fridge rather than buy whole; possibly due to the cheese) and needs a touch more pepper, but it really worked here to make a creamy coating. The whole baked thing looks messily homey and tastes just as comforting.
SUSAN'S MACARONI, TOMATO, AND CHEESE
adapted from The Illustrated Good Housekeeping Encyclopedic Cookbook, 1965, Vol.2
2 c elbow macaroni
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
3/4 c dry breadcrumbs
4 tsp minced onion
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp dry mustard
3/4 tsp salt
dash white pepper
2 c 2% milk
3 c grated reduced-fat Cheddar cheese (8 oz)
2 medium tomatoes, cut in 1/2-inch slices
Start heating oven to 400 F. Cook macaroni as package directs; drain.
Meanwhile, in double boiler melt the 1 1/2 Tbsp butter; toss with the breadcrumbs and set aside on a plate or waxed paper. In the same double boiler combine the onion, the 2 Tbsp butter, flour, mustard, salt and pepper; stir in milk; cook, stirring often, until smooth. Add 2 cups of the cheese; stir until melted.
In 1 1/2 qt casserole (mine just made it, but i did have the slightest spill-over of the sauce during baking - either use a slightly larger, or place dish on a baking sheet to catch any drips), place half of macaroni, all but 2 or 3 tomato slices, then rest of macaroni. Pour on cheese sauce; sprinkle with rest of cheese and buttered crumbs; arrange rest of tomato slices on top. Bake for 20 minutes.