Sunday, January 4, 2009


Today's post rings out the old year--I know, I 'm a few days late. It's a decadent, comfort food, based on another Ina Garten recipe. It's by no means a healthy choice unless you're somehow able to eat a half cup portion, and I'd like to meet that person. What elevates this mac n' cheese above others is the addition of Gruyere cheese and freshly-made bread crumbs. Of course, you can use all cheddar cheese, if you're a purist, but I recommend breaking out of the box and using a heady Gruyere.

Be forewarned, friends in Foodieland, that Monday begins a new focus for The Food of Love. Or, should I say, a return to a healthier style of eating. Undoubtedly, there will be exceptions, but I hope to at least begin the New Year with good intentions. Yes, we all know where that road leads...

Meanwhile, this mac n' cheese can stand on its own, or it makes a wonderful accompaniment to a spiral ham.

Serves 6 - 8 (very generously)
Kosher salt
vegetable oil
1 lb pasta (I love these spirals or cavatappi)
1 quart milk
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
12 oz grated Gruyere cheese
8 oz extra sharp grated cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp freshly grated black pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups fresh, white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)

**In Barefoot Contessa, Family Style, Ina Garten's recipe calls for 3/4 lb small tomatoes, sliced and arranged on top under the breadcrumbs; I omitted this step because the tomatoes available now would dessecrate this dish

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling, salted water

Add the pasta and cook according to package directions (cook al dente)

Heat the milk in a small saucepan (do not boil)

Melt 6 tbs butter in a large pot and add the flour

Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, whisking the whole time

While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for another 2 minutes until thickened and smooth

Remove from the heat and add the Gruyere, cheddar, 1 tbs salt, pepper, and nutmeg

Add the cooked and drained pasta

Stir well

Pour into a 3 qt shallow baking dish

Melt the remaining 2 tbs butter

Combine with fresh bread crumbs

Sprinkle over pasta

Bake 30-35 minutes

Sigh, savor, sin!


  1. Your mac 'n cheese looks absolutely yummy! And I've been down that road before and know all too well where it leads. :)

  2. Oh Alrene I am going to make this for the boys. Dylan Austin LOVES mac and cheese. thanks Susan

  3. I love me some mac and cheese and this looks yummy but I join you with those good intentions on healthier recipes. I'm gonna try too--although hard with posting Ina on Barefoot Bloggers twice a month! ;-)

  4. This looks so good but like you I am really trying to focus on healthy eating for the new year so I don't think I'll be able to make this one for a while.


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