Macaroni offers a variety of pasta dishes perfect to eat anytime, whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They are the total favorite meal of all time and of all ages during regular days and holidays. If you love the dishes at Romano’s Macaroni Grill, you’ll probably also wonder how they make such mouthwatering macaroni. Don’t worry because we’ve got you covered with these tips to make the elbow macaroni or any type of macaroni into an exceptional dish.
We all know that we can make almost anything with macaroni. We can make delicious desserts out of it like Hawaiian macaroni salad, tuna macaroni salad, and macaroni pie. Additionally, macaroni can also serve cheesy snacks like the old fashioned baked mac or even cheeseburger macaroni. Really, macaroni is a very versatile pasta that can satisfy any cravings.
Here are some ways to craft exciting macaroni dishes for your family or friends:
Boil it in Salty Water
The key to a perfect kraft macaroni and cheese or other mac dishes is carefully boiled pasta. You can do it by seasoning the water with enough salt to ensure that your pasta tastes excellent. The macaroni will absorb the salty water preventing a bland-tasting macaroni dish. It will definitely impact the overall taste of your macaroni and cheese that you and your kids will love. Also, don’t forget to add a tablespoon of olive oil to prevent the macaroni from sticking to each other.
Follow the Al Dente Technique
The al dente technique is when you strain the pasta from the water slightly uncooked. It’s usually the best way to prevent the macaroni from getting soggy and sticky. You can do this technique by checking if the macaroni is cooked inside and a bit crunchy on the outside. Once the macaroni is on this level, you can start straining them. You don’t have to worry about it being slightly uncooked because the warm temperature of the macaroni when you get them out of the boiling water will eventually cook them.
If you use this technique, you can definitely expect a firmer and better texture of the macaroni. You’ll not see them breaking into pieces if you cook them al dente. And in terms of how long to cook the macaroni, you can cook it in 2 to 3 minutes which is less than the average cooking time of pasta. You can also look at the packaging instruction of the macaroni and check for the time you need to cook the pasta. Once you check, cook the pasta in less than a minute than what’s instructed.
Choose the Right Macaroni
Macaroni is versatile, but it’s still essential to use suitable macaroni for the kind of dish you’re cooking. For example, if you’re making Hawaiian macaroni salad, generally, elbow macaroni is the most perfect type to make it. On the other hand, if you want to cook carbonara using macaroni, the best option is to use a macaroni penguin. But don’t sweat it because even if they are of different styles and shapes, they are all macaroni. If you don’t know what macaroni to use, you can always experiment, and you might discover a new best way of cooking macaroni.
Use Different Kinds of Cheese
What is macaroni without cheese, right? Whether you’re making macaroni for dessert or snacks, cheese is one of the primary ingredients to make your macaroni taste good. So, if you want to get the most out of making macaroni, try using different kinds of cheese, from parmesan, cheddar to cream cheese. You can also mix these cheeses to achieve the creamy texture you want.
Moreover, the number one rule in making mac and cheese, baked mac, or pie is getting all the cheese they need. It’s one way to cook the best-tasting macaroni dishes that your family will love. You can never go wrong with including yummy cheese on your macaroni dish, whether you mix it on the sauce or top it.
Add Pasta Water to the Sauce
Another unique technique that most chefs use to achieve a flavorful sauce of any macaroni dish is to pour some pasta water into the sauce. The salty and seasoned water will definitely add some flavor to your sauce, complementing your macaroni.
You can add the pasta water when you’re about to finish cooking the pasta, maybe about 2- 3 minutes before. It’s also best to thicken the sauce because of the starchy texture of the water. You’ll definitely taste how the pasta and sauce became well-balanced. If you haven’t done this technique, you’ll be surprised how it can elevate the overall taste of the macaroni dish.
Add more seasonings
It’s also ideal to add more seasonings to make the best macaroni dish that you’ll serve for dinner. Most of the time, fresh herbs like oregano or basil will surely give a natural flavor and add to the aroma of your macaroni. You can all intensify the meaty flavor of what you’re cooking by adding pepperoni, fried bacon, or even ground beef.
Going extra and adding more garlic, mushrooms, and other seasonings is worth trying, especially if you’re cooking for kids since we all know that kids want their food packed with amazing flavors.
Mix the Macaroni and Sauce in the Pan
Most of the time, macaroni is served topped with sauce instead of mixing them together, but it’s not always the best way. When you combine the cooked macaroni in the pan with the sauce, your macaroni will get enough sauce to taste better. The sauce will cover every piece of macaroni and even get inside them to give you the best experience of eating them.
Macaroni dishes have been part of the lives of everyone around the world, making every kid and member of the family satisfied. Its creamy soft texture and delicious sauce are definitely a must-have in every family gathering.
Macaroni is definitely one of the favorite pasta, making a sweet and creamy salad, pie, or the all-time favorite mac and cheese. We really love how this versatile macaroni can complement whatever cravings we have.