One of the fun parts of the Library’s new exhibition, Lunch Hour NYC, which opens tomorrow, is the Automat machine, which has been restored in all its Art-Deco splendor. Visitors are allowed to open up the doors just like the old days, but instead of putting in a nickle and taking out a piece of pie, you open the door and take out a recipe card. The recipes are scaled-down versions of the actual recipes used by the Horn and Hardart company.
One of us made the Automat’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese the other day. Our husband accidentally bought corkscrew noodles instead of elbow, but otherwise we did just as instructed, and it turned out great. Try it for yourself:
Baked Macaroni and Cheese from Horn & Hardart’s Automat
1/4 lb elbow macaroni
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
dash white pepper
dash red pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tbsp light cream
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup canned tomatoes, diced
1/2 tsp sugar
Cook macaroni according to directions on the package. Preheat oven to 400 deg.
Melt butter in the top of a double boiler. Blend flour, salt, and white and red pepper in gradually. When smooth, add milk and cream, stirring constantly. Cook for a few minutes until it thickens.
Add cheese and continue to heat until it melts and the sauce looks smooth. Remove from heat. Add cooked macaroni to the sauce. Add sugar to tomatoes and add to the sauce.
Pour mixture into a buttered baking dish and bake until the surface browns. Serves 4. (We must add: serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as a main.)