Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ina Garten's macaroni & cheese with gruyere and tomatoes

This one, from the Barefoot Contessa on the Food Channel, is worth the splurge on gruyere, which makes it so much more elegant and rich than normal everyday macaroni and cheese. And the tomatoes add something special too. I divided the recipe in half, which would have easily served four...

1/2 pound macaroni
2 cups milk
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups Gruyere, grated
1 cup extra-sharp Cheddar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
dash ground nutmeg
2 small fresh tomatoes
3/4 cup fresh white bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cook macaroni acc. to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan just until hot. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan 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. Remove from heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1/2 Tblsp. salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a square baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, combine 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.