Mac and cheese is classic comfort food, and there are so many ways to prepare it. Although I already have a number of mac and cheese recipes that I love, I still enjoy trying new recipes. I was watching Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network a few weeks ago, and Ina Garten prepared this recipe. The mac and cheese looked rich and creamy, and I immediately looked up the recipe online and put it on our menu.
This recipe turned out as good as it looked on television. It is in fact incredibly rich and creamy, and is also easy to prepare. I took some advice from Ina and grated the cheeses in my food processor. This saved my arms from a lot of work (although grating by hand would be a great way to squeeze in a little workout!). The macaroni is topped with fresh sliced tomatoes before baking, which adds a little something extra special to the presentation.
Mac and Cheese
Makes 8 servings
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
- 4 cups milk
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 12 ounces Gruyere, grated
- 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- generous 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2-3 small fresh tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until just shy of al dente, according to package directions. Drain well.
- Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t let it come to a boil. Melt 6 tablespoons of the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. While whisking, add the warm milk and cook for a few minutes more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, stir in 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg. Add the Gruyere and cheddar and stir until melted. Add the cooked pasta and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
- Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and stir it into the panko. Sprinkle on top of pasta and tomatoes. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the breadcrumbs are browned.
Source: Slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa, Food Network