Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mac and Cheese

Who doesn't love mac and cheese?!?  Pasta is not typically my thing, but mac and cheese definitely is.  If you're going to eat something super carby, better make sure it's super delicious.  Don't sub out the Gruyere for another kind of cheese; it's key.  Buy it at Trader Joe's so it's not quite so expensive.  Also, I like how pretty the tomatoes look on top.  Also, the bread crumbs give it just a little crunch which is a nice touch.

Warning:  This makes A LOT.  Ina says 6-8 servings, but those would be pretty hefty portions.  I only make this when I know there will be people, other than just me, to eat it.     

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 quart milk
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 12 ounces Gruyere, grated (4 cups)
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, grated (2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water.

Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it.

Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour.

Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk.

While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth.

Off the heat, add the Gruyere, cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Add the cooked macaroni and stir well.

Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

NOTE:  You can make this ahead and wait to add the tomatoes and bread crumbs.  If you're going this route, increase the baking time to 40-50 minutes. 

Source:  Ina Garten, again. 

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