Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mac and Cheese

Very cheesy, very rich.  THE best baked macaroni and cheese I've ever eaten.  This is a great side dish to go with grilled chicken. 

Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 lb elbow macaroni or cavatappi
4 cups milk
6 TBS unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
12 oz Gruyere, grated (4 cups) *I used 1 cup Swiss and 3 cups Monterey Jack
8 oz sharp white cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1 TBS kosher salt (use less if using table salt)
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 lb fresh tomatoes (4 small) * I used roasted Roma tomatoes
2 TBS butter
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (7 slices, crusts removed)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water.  Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6-8 minutes just until al dente.  Drain well.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it.  Melt 6 TBS 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.  Remove from the heat and add the cheese, 1 TBS kosher salt (use less if using regular table salt) and pepper.  Add the cooked macaroni and stir well.

Pour into a 3-quart or 9x13 baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top.  Melt 2 TBS of butter and combine with the bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is slightly browned on the top.

**Gruyere can be very expensive.  That is why I substituted the Swiss and Monterey Jack.
When I re-heated my leftovers, I added just a little bit of milk before heating.

Source:  Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Family Style


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