Continuing on from Part 1 of The Mac and Cheese Experiment, this week I tried the more expensive, deluxe boxes of Mac and Cheese. These boxes have a pre-made cheese sauce, as opposed to the orange cheese powder.
This is also where we see different shapes of pasta. A more traditional, curved macaroni, rotini, and a seashell shape. The shape of the pasta plays a crucial role in how much cheese taste you get. For some reason, shells just taste better than macaroni... But we'll decide what the best shape is later, after we've got a good sauce.
The Kraft Deluxe is the deluxe version of the classic institution, Kraft Dinner, but it has turned into something barely recognizable. The cheese sauce was thinner than I remember it, and tasted more like butter than cheese. It was a bit easier to remove from the pouch though, but that's not a good enough reason to taste like that...
And so, my favorite currently is the Centrella Shells and Cheese. The cheese sauce is tangy and rich. The shells are okay if not great (they're a bit thin), but what do you expect from $1.75 or less if the cheese is good?
Spices and Additions
I've settled on 1/4 tsp black pepper and 1/4 tsp of Chipotle seasoning as the right amount for an entire box of deluxe mac (or 2 boxes of lesser mac), if one is not adding anything to make it a bit more filling.
I was pointed at rosemary, and found it brings a wonderful herbal flavor. Adding some black pepper for kick makes it delightful.
I don't tend to add other things (tuna, beef, hot dogs) to deluxe mac. That's what powdered mac is for.
Here's the Kraft Deluxe cheese-like substance. It doesn't show how thin it was.
But compare to the Centrella:
The main things I learned from the Deluxe Mac Taste Test are:
- The cheese is everything. Let nothing stand in its way.
- Large macaroni noodles are terrible for capturing and conveying sauces.
Next week, some pre-made cheese sauces.