Say cheese and the next thing that comes to your mind is –Macaroni?!
Well, if you are an American then most definitely yes, since more than one million boxes of macaroni and cheese are sold there every day! It is less popular among Indians with other pasta varieties such as spaghetti, penne and fusilli being consumed more often.
While most of us do have fond childhood memories of digging into a dishful of steaming ‘macaroni and cheese’ at some point we fear piling on extra calories by binging on this cheesy delight. Let us see how we can enjoy an occasional indulgence in macaroni dishes by making it more healthy and nutritious.
The term macaroni stands for tubular dried pasta (pasta secca) three to five inches in length made from a particular type of wheat flour (now designated Triticum turgidum var. durum). Durum wheat (hard wheat) has high gluten and low moisture content, which distinguishes it in a significant way from soft wheat (used for making bread). The origin of macaroni apparently lies with the Arabs.
Like all other pastas, macaroni is made from durum wheat and not refined wheat flour, which makes it a better bet than noodles. Also, cheese enhances the protein content of the dish to some extent. Pasta cannot be made without cheese but its caloric density can be reduced by
- Using lesser quantities of cheese
- Using low fat cheese
- Diluting the cheese by mixing with some low fat milk (melted cheese sauce)
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