Friday, March 09, 2007

Barefoot Contessa's Mac & Cheese

This is the hard part about feeding a family that has their own different taste. My husband, R loves spicy Chinese food , his taste ran around Taiwanese local food and Shezchuan food but because he lived in the US and Canada long enough he likes to eat American food too. While my son prefer Italians or at the very least American food. And off course, I have to cook for my baby too who just start to like eating rough porridge kind of food. Since my grandma now live with us, her brother and sister takes turn to keep her company so she won't be lonely and I felt obligated to prepare food for these nice people who never fail to come here to cheer up my grandma. So now you understand my situation right? For these people, because they were brought up with Dutch education and culture, they loves to eat cheese. My mom and dad are pretty easy to please too since they travelled a lot and has sample so many international dishes.

So now what can I cook to please all of these people? From 1 to 87 year old? Why? Mac and Cheese off course!

Since I happen to stock up on cheese, pasta, milk and tomatoes, I don't even have to go to grocery store to buy the ingredients first. I already have everything that I need in my fridge now.

After further research, I decide to try Barefoot Contessa's Mac & Cheese recipe from Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Family Style book. I made one change on the recipe though, I substitute the cheese with different type of cheese but I still come out with the total of 6 cups of cheese as the recipe asked for.



Kosher salt
vegetable oil
1 lb elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 quart milk
8 Tbs ( 1 stick ) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated ( 2 cups )
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 lb. fresh tomatoes ( 4 small )
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs ( 5 slices, crusts removed )


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. 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.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt 6 Tbs 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 1 minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 Tbs salt , pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
  4. Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 2 Tbs 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.
To make ahead, put the macaroni and cheese in the baking dish, cover , and refrigerate until ready to bake. Put the tomatoes and bread crumbs on top and bake for about 40 to 50 minutes.

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