In a small saucepan, slowly whisk the cornstarch into 1 cup whole milk, then whisk in 1 cup sugar.
Heat over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes, whisking frequently, until it’s almost simmering and the mixture thickens.
Remove from the heat. Stir in the heavy cream, salt and vanilla extract. If desired, add 1 to 2 drops of red food coloring until the desired color is reached (it will lighten slightly when frozen).
Transfer the mixture to a large metal or glass bowl. Place the bowl in a smaller bowl of ice water for 1 hour, making sure not to splash any water into the custard. Alternatively, simply place the bowl in the refrigerator and wait for 3 hours or until the temperature drops to 40°F.
Meanwhile, hull the strawberries and chop them into very small pieces. Place them in a bowl, sprinkle with ¼ cup sugar, and mash the fruit lightly with a potato masher or pastry blender for several minutes until they are very saucy.
When the custard is chilled, stir together the custard and the strawberries. Pour them into an ice cream maker and churn according to the ice cream maker instructions, about 25 minutes for soft serve consistency. For a hard ice cream texture, transfer to a loaf pan or sealed container and freeze in the freezer for at least 2 hours (or up to 4 hours). Store in a loaf pan with a parchment sheet over the top or a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.