Oct 27, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Creamed Macaroni

This is a curious pasta dish, or at least a dish with a mysterious past. In our family, we know it as a simple, comforting side dish; sometimes it's even the main dish if I'm fixing a quick meal-for-one.  One friend pointed out it tastes a little like alfredo sauce (but much lighter and thinner...no Parmesan cheese, and contains much less butter than the classic Italian pasta sauce.)  We jokingly called it "poor man's alfredo."

Over the years, I've never come across this recipe anywhere else.  Digging deep, I found a few random blog posts from several years ago describe something similar, but even they are not an exact replica of this dish that my mom made for years, (and now, so have I.)  It's possible it is a derivative of a rather obscure Swedish dish; all I know is that it goes great with salmon or tuna patties, hot dogs, meatloaf, breaded fish fillets, or chicken strips. (Read:  your basic lineup of quick-fix dinner basics.)  And the kids slurp it down. 

If you don't have Lawry's Seasoned Salt in your spice cabinet, I highly recommend getting some (at least get a small bottle and try it.)  It's MSG-free and you'll find it goes great on hard boiled eggs, deviled eggs and in creamy macaroni salads, to name a few favorites.

Mom's Creamed Macaroni

1 1/2 cups dried elbow macaroni
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
salt and pepper
Lawry's Seasoned Salt

In 2-quart saucepan, bring water to boil; add macaroni and cook until al dente; drain.  In the still-warm saucepan, combine evaporated milk and butter until butter melts.  Add back pasta and stir to coat.  Lightly season with salt and pepper (go easy on the salt); serve and lightly dust with Lawry's seasoned salt on each serving.

This recipe makes 3-4 generous side-dish size servings.  The recipe can be cut in half (use a 5-ounce can of milk), or double it if your crew is really hungry.  Leftovers will reheat, but do it gently  - overheating will curdle the milk.

Happy cooking!