Secret to texture, taste may be ziti pasta

By Betty Parham

MAIN STREET CAFE (NOW CLOSED)

190 E. Main St., Canton

Q: The Main Street Cafe in Canton makes the best side dish of macaroni and cheese. The pasta is larger than average, and the texture and flavor is the best I’ve ever eaten. Can you find out the secret to this great macaroni and cheese so I can add it to my personal collection?

—- Louise DuBois, Canton

A: Owner-chef Lisa Schaeffer brought this mac ‘n’ cheese when she moved here from New Orleans. It’s a simple recipe that uses both American and cheddar cheeses. Possibly the secret to the texture and taste is the use of ziti instead of the more familiar elbow macaroni. Chef Schaeffer was glad to share the recipe.

Main Street Cafe Macaroni and Cheese

1 1/2 pounds ziti

1/2 pound American cheese

1 1/2 pounds sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, divided

1 1/2 cups milk

Salt, black pepper to taste

Cook ziti according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Shred American cheese or, if using slices, tear into small pieces. Place in medium saucepan. Add 1 pound cheddar cheese and milk. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place cooked ziti in 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish. Pour cheese sauce over ziti. Top with remaining 1/2 pound shredded Cheddar cheese. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until bubbly. Makes 12 servings.

Per serving: 528 calories, 27 grams protein, 27 grams fat (percent calories from fat, 45), 45 grams carbohydrates, 82 milligrams cholesterol, 641 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.