MAC AND CHEESE (Adapted from Ina Garten)

(Adapted from Ina Garten)

Vegetable oil

Kosher salt

1 lb elbow macaroni

1 quart milk

8 TBSP (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided

1/2 cup flour

12 oz Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)

8 oz extra-sharp cheddar, grated (2 cups)

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

3/4 lb fresh tomatoes (4 small)

1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed) or 3/4 cup panko

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. 

***To make ahead, put the macaroni and cheese in the baking dish, cover, and refrigerate until ready to bake. Put the tomatoes and bread crumbs on top and bake for about 40 to 50 minutes.


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