DRYING MACARONI FOR MACARONI SALADS
For a more dense macaroni chew experience, partially dry-cook elbows before adding them to your salad. A simple procedure makes a world of difference.
Makes 1 pound
1 lb. box elbow macaroni – I used Mueller’s brand – my mother said it wasn’t as starchy feeling as the other brands back in the day; I agree it’s a good pasta and they just started carrying it at the local grocery, but use whatever brand you want
Cook the elbows in lots of sufficiently salted boiling water till tender, drain in colander, rinse under cold water till cool to touch, drain and shake and let set to dry in colander.
Then spread cooked elbows out evenly on parchment lined baking sheet or non-stick sheet and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and stir about the baking sheet, then cool to room temperature before adding to salad.
We bake the macaroni to dry it out, so that the water doesn’t leak into the dressing. All those little elbows hold water and shake as you may, some water remains inside those elbows.
The partially baked macaroni dried in the oven presents a drier chew than when used straight out of the water. I think you’ll like the result.
If you bake the macaroni too long, it will dry too much and you’ll have to re-boil it, so use your timer and set it for 10 minutes, then look, feel and taste, if it needs more drying, then go another 5 minutes.
Everybody’s oven is a little different, so once you know how your’s dries the macaroni perfectly, then adjust future drying times.
We rinse thoroughly the pasta, after boiling it, to remove excess starch as well as to stop the cooking process. Baking it after it has dried somewhat in the colander does not inject more water, so it doesn’t make it mushy.