Cook This: Macaroni and Cheese

It’s cheesy. Gooey. Did I mention it’s delicious? I spotted my friend Shannon making this Barefoot Contessa overnight mac and cheese recipe so I had to give it a stab as a side dish for an intimate family gathering I was hosting over Winter Break. This is a gratin which requires 24 hours to rest so plan yourselves accordingly! Without further ado, here is an adapted recipe:

INGREDIENTS

  • Salt to taste
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni or cavatappi pasta
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cups grated Gruyere, divided
  • 2 cup grated sharp white Cheddar, such as Cabot, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter, plus extra for the dish
  • 1½ cup panko bread crumbs

Twenty-four hours before you plan to serve the gratin, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add 2 tablespoons salt and the macaroni and cook for exactly 4 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium (10-inch) bowl, combine the cream, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, 1 cup of the Cheddar, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.  When the pasta is done, stir it into the cream mixture, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a full 24 hours.  The pasta will absorb the cream and expand.

When ready to cook, allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for about an hour.  (You can also microwave it for 4 minutes.)  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Butter a 2-quart gratin dish, transfer the mixture to the dish and spread it evenly.  Combine the remaining 1 cup Gruyere and ½ cup Cheddar and sprinkle it evenly on top.  Combine the panko bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons butter and sprinkle evenly on top.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating halfway through, until golden brown and crusty.  Serve hot.

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