More is going on at Creamette these days than Mr. Tidbit recognized when he recently mentioned new Creamette 150, the reduced-calorie pasta. Although most supermarkets are carrying that version of Creamettes, not as many stores seem to have signed on for Creamette Quick Cook.
Quick Cook is the version of several shapes of Creamettes that cooks in just 3 ½ minutes, instead of the agonizing 8 minutes or so that one has to endure while regular Creamettes decide to get around to softening up. Saving 4 ½ minutes might not seem like much, but if you made 15 batches of pasta a day, you’d save more than an hour!
The miracle of Quick Cook pasta is made possible by extruding the pasta considerably thinner, and at least in some cases making the pieces smaller overall. The box warns in several places against overcooking Quick Cook pasta, and it notes that Quick Cook pasta isn’t recommended for baked pasta dishes.
Thus, the recipe for macaroni and cheese that’s on the box of regular Creamette elbows, which calls for 30 minutes in the oven after the pasta is cooked and combined with the cheese sauce, does not appear on the box of Quick Cook elbows. That’s no problem, as Mr. Tidbit feels confident that the cook who yearns to save 4 ½ minutes boiling the pasta isn’t about to wait 30 minutes so bits of the cheese sauce can brown up.
Shreds of flavor
Speaking of macaroni and cheese, there’s a fascinating development in the Kraft portion of the supermarket cheese aisle. Where once there was only one kind of shredded Velveeta, there are now six flavors: original, pepper Jack, chipotle, queso blanco, Cheddar and mozzarella. Mr. Tidbit rushes to make certain you understand: These are flavors. Of Velveeta.
OK, it’s Velveeta, not cheese, but if your first criterion is “Does it melt nicely?” Velveeta might well be what you want. And because it’s Velveeta, not cheese, it’s cheaper, too, at least at some stores. At one supermarket, where 8-ounce bags of shreds of Kraft’s actual mozzarella, Cheddar and other cheeses were $3.79, the 8-ounce bags of shredded Velveeta were $2.99.