I had always eaten mac & cheese out of the box, so I was very interested while watching a Barefoot Contessa episode where she made it from scratch. Steve and our friend John were the guinea pigs for me this past weekend and gave it a thumbs up! I did halve the recipe and it worked out well! I also used equal parts of cheddar and Gruyere since Gruyere is so pricey! Next time, I may switch up the cheeses to get a different taste!
1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi (which really made it a fun dish!)
1 quart of milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, 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)
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 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 (around 6-8 minutes), drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small sauce pan, but don't boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter into 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 and 1 tablespoon of salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the cooked pasta and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the 2 remaining tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs and sprinkle on top of the tomatoes.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on top.