As I mentioned, I made my favorite meal for Sunday dinner. Unlike my traditional mac and cheese recipe, Ina Garten (AKA Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa) makes hers with Gruyere cheese, making it more gourmet and delicious. Gruyere is a hard yellow cheese and very expensive, so I don’t make this version often. But when I do (or my mom does), it’s a treat and the best comfort food there is. (I’m pretty sure Ina made this as part of Barefoot Contessa’s “comfort food” episode.)
While you cook the pasta, heat the milk. In a separate pot, melt the butter and whisk in flour, then the warm milk. Stir for a minute until thickened.
Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add cheeses.
[TIP: Since Gruyere is so expensive (about $1 per ounce when I bought it), I switched the cheese measurements Ina suggests and used 8 oz. Gruyere and 12 oz. cheddar.]
Once cheese is melted, stir in the cooked macaroni. I used cavatappi (the curly tube macaroni).
Spread in a baking dish and top with sliced tomatoes. Toss bread crumbs in melted butter and sprinkle on top. [I used regular Panko bread crumbs.]
Bake for a half hour until browned, bubbly, and melty.
- Kosher salt
- Vegetable oil
- 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) [JLV substitute: 8 oz. Gruyere, 12 oz. cheddar]
- 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) [JLV substitue: Panko bread crumbs]
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.
I love Ina! Macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods too. I’ve been looking for a new recipe to switch up my normal mac and cheese. Although gruyere is expensive I look forward to trying this soon
This one is DEFINITELY worth trying. I’m a huge mac and cheese fan and this is by far my favorite!
While reading this I noticed the amounts of cheese doesn’t add up. Twelve oz = 4 cups and 8 oz is 2 cups? 16 oz is 4 cups. Which should I really use?
Hi Paula – good question! It is a bit confusing because the measurements for blocks of cheese is by weight vs. shredded cheese which is by volume (even though they both say “ounces”). So an 8 oz block of cheese will actually yield about 2 cups by volume when shredded (depending on the type of cheese). If you are buying a block of Gruyere, 12 oz will do – but if you are buying it pre-shredded, then 3-4 cups works. Hope that makes sense! Enjoy!
Yummy so delicious
I’ve made her Mac and cheese several times and one substitute that I’ve used instead of the expensive gruyere is Swiss cheese. I’ve read somewhere that it makes a pretty good substitute and I’ve never had a problem. In fact, I’ve never made this with the required cheese.
Thanks, Laura! Gruyere is just a high-end type of Swiss cheese so you can totally switch it out. Definitely will save money! I love the taste of Gruyere but not the price so I found doing part Gruyere and part cheddar works out pretty well.
Tamara H. says
What does the nutmeg do to the flavor profile?
Can this be made a day in advance and then reheated?
Yes it can! You can also prepare it up to the last step (before you bake it) and refrigerate, and then just bake it the next day!