My apologies to my friends at Tuesdays with Dorie, especially April of Short & Rose who was our host for this week. Last weekend took a lot out of me and I just didn't have the time or energy to get to the cherry-fudge brownie torte. I'll be back next week for the chocolate caramel chestnut cake for sure!
Last night I wanted comfort food for dinner and, to me, nothing says comfort food like macaroni and cheese. I'll admit, we're not above eating macaroni and cheese from a box from time to time. However, about a month ago I tried a recipe from Ina Garten for homemade mac and cheese and it blew me away! It was truly the best mac and cheese I've ever had. So, it was an easy decision to make it again last night.
The recipe uses lots of extra sharp cheddar, Gruyere and butter so it's a bit of a calorie splurge but well worth it! The mac and cheese is creamy and the Gruyere adds a wonderful nuttiness. The addition of the bread crumbs on top gives the dish a nice, crisp crust, which is a perfect contrast to the creamy sauce below. The mac and cheese can be prepped ahead of time and popped in the fridge to be baked off later so it's also a great option for company. If you're a mac and cheese fan, this is definitely one worth trying!
Macaroni and Cheese
from Ina Garten (via FoodNetwork.com)
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) (I omit)
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. 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.