This recipe is my absolute go-to for mac & cheese and was adapted from the amazing Barefoot Contessa. The smoked gruyere was my addition and gives it a really interesting flavor, almost like it has bacon in it, but it's meat free! Note: you will need 3 open burners on the stove top in order to make this recipe, so it does require a bit of multitasking! By the second time you make it, you'll have it down pat, but I found myself scrambling a bit the first time I made it as I'm much more comfortable using a stand mixer and the oven. :)
recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa
serves 6-8 people
- Salt and olive oil for boiling water
- 1 pound cavatappi (the swirly ones)
- 1 quart milk
- 1 stick unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 8 ounces smoked Gruyere, grated (4 cups)
- 8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Bring water, olive oil and a bit of salt to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling, add the cavatappi and cook according to the directions on the package (usually 6 to 8 minutes.) Drain well.
- While the water is boiling in the large pot, 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 from the saucepan and cook for a minute or two more until thick and smooth.
- Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg to the pot. Add the cooked cavatappi and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish. Resist eating it at this point even though it looks delicious - you still need to bake it!
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave and combine with the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the cheesey macaroni.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.
- Serve and enjoy!!
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