Macaroni & Cheese: Barefoot Contessa Style

As most of you know by now, I’m slightly (ok, extremely) obsessed with the Barefoot Contessa.

I love the show.

I fantasize about her kitchen.

I own every single Barefoot Contessa cookbook. Ever.

I’ve tried tons of the recipes from the cookbooks. The guacamole is heavenly and a snap to make. Beatty’s chocolate cake is to die for. I serve rosemary cashews at almost every party I host.

That’s why when my equally Barefoot Contessa-obsessed aunt, Ellen, called me a few years ago and told me there was a recipe I absolutely, positively had to make, I was riddled with excitement and anticipation.

And so, then and there, I whipped up the most decadent, delicious, diet-breaking recipe ever: Barefoot Contessa’s Mac & Cheese!

I’ve always been a big fan of comfort foods, and mac & cheese is a noteworthy staple. Once you try Ina’s Mac & Cheese, though, you will never go back.

Since I’ll be preparing this dish for Super Bowl Sunday (an annual tradition), I thought I’d share the secret with you. Make it. Eat it. Love it. (and please don’t even try to count the calories).

Mac & Cheese
serves 6 to 8

Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 lb elbow macaroni or cavatappi (those delicious corkscrews)
1 quart of milk
1 stick of unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere Cheese (4 cups)
8 oz. extra sharp cheedar (I like using the white kind) (2 cups)
1/2 tsp. grated black pepper
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 lb fresh tomatoes (I’ve made the recipe with and without these)
1 and 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (or from the can, if you feel lazy)

Preheat oven to 375

Boil a large pot of water. Add salt and oil once boiling. Cook pasta according to directions on the package or slightly al dente. Drain.

Here’s the tricky part: you need 2 saucepans to create the sauce

Heat the milk in a small saucepan without boiling it.

In a large pot melt 6 tbs. of the butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat while stirring with a whisk. According to Ina, this takes out the flour taste. While whisking, add the hot milk (inevitably this will be messy, aprons are not your enemy). Cook for a few minutes until the mixture is thickened and smooth. Remove it from the heat and add the cheeses. * Note here: my aunt sometimes reverses the amount of each cheese–using more cheddar than Gruyere. I like the gruyere as a dominant flavor but it is a little stronger with more bite. The more you make it, the more you can try to vary the proportions of the cheeses until you have it just right. * Add 1 tbs. salt along with the pepper and the nutmeg. Lastly, add in the cooked pasta and stir.

Pour the mixture into a 3 quart baking dish. (This is usually the point where I start eating the pre-baked mac & cheese and have to convince myself to put it in the oven so other people can eventually enjoy too). This is also the point where you can refrigerate the mixture, covered, until you are officially ready to bake.

Place the sliced tomatoes on top. (Totally optional if you are feeling like they would be a healthy afront to the dish). Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until sauce is bubbly and slightly browned on top.

Recipe courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa.

Eat it in good health (or right after a very hard work out).



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4 Comments on Macaroni & Cheese: Barefoot Contessa Style

  1. Vicky Rivera
    November 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm (6 years ago)

    I will try this recipe for Thanksgiven and I will dream to have a kitchen like that one love it.

  2. julie @ duet letterpress
    February 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm (9 years ago)

    thanks! i've been looking for a good mac + cheese recipe. i'll be bookmarking this one.

  3. Elizabeth
    February 4, 2010 at 2:44 pm (9 years ago)

    have you had the artisanal mac & cheese? out of this world.

  4. Lindsey Conrad - Nabors
    February 4, 2010 at 12:39 am (9 years ago)

    I'm going to have to try this recipe!!! Looks SO good!!

    And her kitchen – to die for!!!!

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