Mac and Cheese

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My parents gave me Barefoot Contessa Family Style for Christmas.   I LOVE new cookbooks and tried this recipe from it the weekend after Christmas.  I’ve tried several different recipes for macaroni and cheese and I’ve never found one that I really love, until now.   I’d make this over and over again.   The tomatoes on the top are a really nice addition.  I was a bit skeptical about the tomatoes at first, but they really do add something to the dish. The gruyere cheese is also a nice addition.

My husband and I both loved this.   My boys – not so much.     One of the four loves the instant Kraft mac and cheese that you microwave (yuck!), and I was sure he’d like this, but alas, no such luck.    Maybe he just needs to be exposed to the new flavor some more.  I think I’ll have to make it again! 🙂

Mac and Cheese
From Barefoot Contessa Family Style by Ina Garten

Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose 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) *I used sliced grape tomatoes and they were delicious!
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed) *I used Panko instead and it was delicious!

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.

Yield: 6 – 8 servings

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1 comment to Mac and Cheese

  • Linda

    Your site is amazing. One of the best ones out there. I have found it better not to add oil to boiling water for pasta as the sauces do not adhere to the pasta as well.

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