Today was Stephen’s birthday brunch, so I woke up bright and early(ish) to make a version of the phenomenal mac ‘n’ cheese Morgan made for her Holiday Brunch a couple of months back. It’s based on a Barefoot Contessa recipe; I just tweaked it a bit to make it even creamier and less breadcrumb-heavy. FYI, it’s a little labor-intensive – or at least results in quite a few dirty pots and plates and implements – but things move along much more quickly if you grate the cheese ahead of time.
Happy birthday, Stephen!!! Love love love.
CHEDDAR & GRUYERE MAC ‘N’ CHEESE
What you need:
1 lb macaroni pasta
About 3 cups cheddar
About 3 cups gruyere
1 quart whole milk
7 tbsp butter
1/2 cup flour
Salt & pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup white breadcrumbs
10-15 cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
What you do:
1. Heat the oven to 375, and cook the pasta in boiling water drizzled with a little olive oil according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Next, grate your cheese. Feel free to use more or less of one type of cheese or the other, depending on your preferences.
3. Heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t let it come to a boil.
4. In a large saucepan, melt 6 tbsp butter and then add the flour. Whisk together; it will be 100% not a liquid and will make you think that you’re doing something wrong; don’t worry, it’ll all turn out well in the end.
5. Add the milk to the butter/flour mixture and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, for a couple of minutes.
6. See? You just throw the cheese, macaroni, and salt, pepper, and nutmeg into the pot and stir it all around; it might still look a bit thin, but that’s nothing to worry about.
7. Pour it all into a big casserole dish and dot with halved cherry tomatoes.
8. Melt the rest of the butter (1 tbsp) and combine with the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over the pasta and tomatoes.
9. Cook in the oven for about half an hour, or until lightly golden brown and bubbling. Yummmm.
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