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June/July 2009

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Hawaiians cook their macaroni until it's "fat." Turns out they know what they're doing.

Why This Recipe Works

Hawaiians cook the macaroni for their Hawaiian Macaroni Salad until it’s “fat," or very soft. Turns out they know what they’re doing. While overcooking the pasta seems like a bad idea, it actually enables the macaroni to absorb more dressing. The dressing for our Hawaiian Macaroni Salad had to be thin enough to soak into the pasta, so we used an equal amount of mayonnaise and milk, and a lot of each. To prevent the cider vinegar from curdling the milk, we poured the vinegar directly over the hot macaroni. After the vinegar soaked in, we poured on about half the dressing, gave the mixture a stir, and let it cool. We then stirred in the remaining dressing and added grated carrot, chopped celery (for crunch), scallions, a bit of brown sugar, and some vigorous shakes of salt and black pepper.

Ingredients

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Instructions

Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients

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2 cups whole milk (see note)
2 cups mayonnaise (see note)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni
½ cup cider vinegar
4 scallions, sliced thin
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 celery rib, chopped fine

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Instructions

Serves 8 to 10

Low-fat milk or mayonnaise will make the dressing too thin.

1. MAKE DRESSING Whisk 1½ cups milk, 1 cup mayonnaise, sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper in bowl.

2. COOK PASTA Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta and cook until very soft, about 15 minutes. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add vinegar and toss until absorbed. Transfer to bowl. Cool pasta 10 minutes, then stir in dressing until pasta is well coated. Cool completely.

3. MAKE SALAD Add scallions, carrot, celery, remaining milk, and remaining mayonnaise to pot with pasta mixture and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl and refrigerate, covered, for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. Serve.