September Feast: Macaroni and Cheese – Contessa Style


Everyone has a favorite macaroni and cheese recipe,  and maybe even more than one favorite.  This macaroni and cheese dish contains Gruyere cheese and extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, and uses cavatappi pasta.  So it is a little different, but the taste is very cheesy and creamy.  Also, the recipe makes a lot, so you can feed a large group or divide the pre-baked mixture into containers and freeze what you don’t want to cook now.  Don’t be surprised if you add a new favorite to your macaroni and cheese repertoire.

Barefoot Contessa’s Macaroni & Cheese



Vegetable oil

1 lb. elbow macaroni or cavatappi pasta

1 qt. milk

8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided

½ c. all-purpose flour

12 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated (4 c.)

8 oz. extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (2 c.)

1 Tbsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

½ tsp. ground nutmeg

¾ lb. fresh tomatoes (4 small)

1 ½ c. fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Drizzle oil into large pot of boiling salted water.  Add the macaroni and cook until tender.  Drain well.  Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it.  Melt 6 T. butter in a large (4 qt.) pot and add the flour.  Cook over low heat for 2 min., stirring with a whisk.  While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two, until thickened and smooth.  Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Add the cooked macaroni and stir well.  Pour into a 3 qt. baking dish.  Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top.  Melt the remaining 2 T. butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs and sprinkle on top.  Bake for 30 to 35 min., or until sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on top.

The recipe makes a large amount of macaroni and cheese, but can be divided in half successfully.  If dividing, use 3 cups of the uncooked macaroni.  Also, the tomatoes and bread crumbs are optional.  Other types of bread can be used for the topping, such as sourdough bread.

And, it can be baked at 350 degrees, for about an hour, to go along with other dishes cooking at the same time.


Stay tuned: Next historical post on October 1st.  “What’s in a Name?  Our Schools.  The Quiz.”  This is a companion quiz to a Winston-Salem Time Traveler feature article that appears in the October issue of Forsyth Woman Magazine.  See how much you know about how and for whom (or what) our schools were named.

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