This is a creamy dreamy mac and cheese.
We were heading over to a friends, Mark & Allie, house for lunch one day and the request for Mac & Cheese came through. Mark makes fantastic pulled pork. And smoked pulled pork and mac & cheese are best buddies. BFF’s.
To stand up to Mark’s ah-mazing pulled pork, I had to really bring it. And damn… it was brought!!
I consulted with some foodies at work for the best mac and cheese to make and was pointed to Ina Garten’s mac and cheese recipe. Well, you know, Ina knocks it out of the park so I had to go with it.
Rightfully so too! This made for a ridiculously delicious mac and cheese. Ridiculous.
The key to making this recipe the best it can very be is the cheese sauce.
Get your ducks in a row to have the cheese all grated so you can quickly dump it in once you get the rue and warm milk combined and smooth.
Trader Joe’s has a cheese that is a combination of cheddar and Gruyere so just grabbed enough of that (2 big blocks) and got to work at grating that right up.
This mac and cheese is perfect for the winter as it’s the perfect kind of comfort food, but it’s also great in the spring, summer, or fall. It’s great on it’s own, or with a side salad or with some smoked pulled pork. Or in a house with a mouse. Or in a box with a fox. Wait a minute…
Oh, and the breadcrumbs. Toasty, crunchy, & yummy.
I had to end the week on this ultra decadent, super cheesy recipe as next Monday Price and I are diving into Whole30, an ultra strict 30 day diet reset. And, buddy, this is not complaint to that diet at all. I just had to share this recipe now so I don’t have to look at this drool worthy pictures while we pass out on all dairy and grain for the month.
While we won’t be eating recipes like this from February 2nd- March 3rd, it doesn’t mean you can’t! Share some pics if you do. I’ll probably lick my computer screen. ha!
Creamy Dreamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Makes 8-10 servings
- 1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
- 1 quart milk
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 12 ounces Gruyere, 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 (smaller is better)
- 1 Cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 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.
Adapted from Ina Garten