This mac and cheese is a little different that most others in that it doesn't attempt to call itself a mac and cheese, per se. Rather, it's marketed as a pasta dish that just happens to have a four-cheese sauce included. The Pasta Roni company (fun fact: it was founded by a guy named Domenico DeDomenico. Seriously.) invites us to "Join the Trolley on a taste adventure around the world. From the zesty to the savory to every delicious corner of the Earth, Pasta Roni takes you on an exciting flavor journey." Basically, it's boxed mac and cheese that they want grown-ups to eat without being embarrassed.
The preparation for this one is a little more involved than your typical Kraft dinner. You're told to boil water, milk, and butter before adding the pasta and "Special Seasonings" (read: orange cheese sauce in a packet). I won't lie, I have never boiled anything besides water and it freaked me out when the mixture started to boil over a little. Thankfully, my roommate, Katie, (who, by the way, is a vegan) was able to rescue me. At least if this mac and cheese sucks I can say it taught me something about cooking.
All the ingredients sitting in the pot. It looks like corn chowder!
Boiling milk, water, and pasta together...weird.
Waiting for it to cool!
Flavor: 4/5. There was definitely a decent flavor, and it stood out from other macaroni products. However, the sauce actually tasted better when I sampled it halfway through cooking than it did in the finished product. I felt like the flavor all boiled away (can that happen?). I think I may try making this again, but preparing it in a manner more similar to Kraft or Annie's (i.e. boil the pasta first, then add cheese/milk/butter).
Consistency: 3/5. The sauce looked extremely thin and runny at first; Katie even commented that it didn't look very creamy. "That's what she said" jokes aside, the box did say to allow the sauce to thicken for three to five minutes. I gave it a shot and the consistency did, in fact, improve. It still wasn't as perfect as it could have been, but no major complaints here.
Pasta Shape: 3/5. Don't get me wrong, I like fusilli, but I didn't love it with this sauce. I prefer it with something with a stronger flavor or something thicker.
Overall: 3.5/5. Though this was not my favorite mac and cheese ever, it was decent, and, as I mentioned above, I will probably try it again with an alternate preparation. As I've mentioned before, I'm a purist and don't believe in adding other things to mac and cheese. However, those who enjoy mixing in vegetables, tuna, or meat may want to try that with this kind. I would recommend giving this one a shot, because I could see some people really enjoying it.
Nutrition Information: Serving Size 2.5 oz (about 1 cup prepared). 370 Calories, 140 Calories from Fat; 16g Fat, 5g Saturated Fat; 10mg Cholesterol; 890mg Sodium; 49g Carbohydrates; 2g Fiber; 11g Protein.