Sunday, September 1, 2013

Mac & Cheese

The first time I made this recipe was back in 2010 when we hosted Thanksgiving here at the house for Josh's family. I did not have my fancy food processor at the time, and spent an hour just grating cheese (OK it felt like an hour). It seemed like a lot of work at the time, until I tried the best mac & cheese I'd ever tasted.  The cavatappi pasta, gruyere cheese, and nutmeg push it over the top. That's when the dish was nicknamed "Holy Macaroni" - it will make you a believer! 

My friend Aaron requested that we bring mac & cheese to his college football party today, and if Michigan wins, then clearly it was due to this divine dish.  If not, then he can drown his sorrows in comfort food at it's best...

Holy Macaroni & Cheese 
from Ina Garten 

kosher salt
vegetable oil
1 pound cavatappi or elbow macaroni
1 quart milk
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
4 small fresh tomatoes
1 1/2 cups white bread crumbs or Panko

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions. Drain well.
  3. 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 pasta and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
  4. Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Met the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the bread crumbs or Panko 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. 

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