Our collective passion for macaroni and cheese can be explained by one five-star-reviewed mac ‘n’ cheese ring created by a food-obsessed Etsy jeweler. Buyers are smitten with the tiny artwork, which is currently on back order. The Frisky recently made a case for proposing with the ring instead of using a diamond. One of their reasons: "Macaroni and cheese are two very different foods that bring out the best in each other… How romantic is that?" You could also argue that the cheese fills a void in the macaroni. Many chefs choose a hollow pasta shape because of the wonderful thing that happens when sauce and goo plug up the insides. Here's how those happy tubes are made.
1. Dough is made by hand or with a mixer.
2. The dough is kneaded until it reaches the correct consistency, and then it is pushed, or extruded, through a die, a metal disk with holes in it. To make hollow, dumpling-style pasta such as macaroni or penne, a special type of pasta maker is required that comes with die attachments.
3. The shape of the holes in the die governs the shape of the pasta. For spaghetti, the die has round holes; for macaroni wheels, the die pushes out the pasta, leaving a large hole in the middle and gaps left by the spokes. As the pasta emerges, the spokes join up in the center.
4. When the extruded pasta reaches the right length, it is cut with sharp blades that rotate beneath the die.
5. The pasta is then sent through large dryers that circulate hot, moist air to slowly dry the pasta. To be dried properly, pasta needs alternating heat and moisture.