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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Horn and Hardart Mac and Cheese

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
I found this recipe for the famous Horn and Hardart Mac and Cheese recipe. Horn & Hardart was a Philadelphia and New York restaurant chain that also had stores specializing in take-out. With the TV and radio advertising motto "Less work for mother," they actually pioneered the concept of prepared foods to eat at home. The restaurants were called Automats because, besides a cafeteria line, they featured food behind tiny glass windows that was accessed by putting a few nickels in the slots. The last Horn & Hardart Automat in New York — on Third Ave. and 42nd St. — closed in the 1990s and is now a Gap.

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons light cream, or use more milk
1 packed cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash white pepper
1/2 pound small elbow macaroni, cooked until barely done

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat, blend in flour and cook about 2 minutes. Beat in the milk, and then the cream and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from heat.
Stir in the cheese until melted, then the crushed tomatoes, sugar, and two peppers. Stir in the macaroni.

Pour into a shallow, buttered baking dish and bake in a preheated 400-degree oven until the surface browns, 25 to 30 minutes.

NOTE: If you don't want to purchase a half-pint container of light cream just for two tablespoons, simply add two tablespoons more milk. You'll never know the difference. I also think it needs a little salt, which is not called for in the original recipe.