Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Barefoot Contessa's Mac and Cheese

I love scouring the grocery store for ingredients I don't normally buy. This recipe requires some Gruyere cheese that doesn't normally get thrown into my shopping cart. The cheap blue boxes of mac and cheese get a little more rotation these days.

This was a bit of work, but anything with that much whisking turns out yummy. I love how this is listed as an "Intermediate" recipe on foodnetwork.com. Even I was a little overwhelmed with the amount of dishes and work this took. I didn't use macaroni, because I have a TON of thin spaghetti holding court in my cabinet. I broke it down into smaller pieces, so it changed the consistency from regular macaroni, but I could not justify buying more pasta when I have half a cabinet-full.

The verdict?
I made this as part of a Father's Day gift, and it was worth all the extra whisking, time, and money for the "fancy" cheese. My husband loved it and devoured the whole pan over the weekend. My favorite part was the tomatoes complimenting the cheese.

I am also sharing this at Food Network Chefs Cooking Challenge.

Mac and Cheese from 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)
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.

Easy Cooking | Simple Cooking