Once again, Ina did not disappoint. 🙂 This classic baked macaroni and cheese recipe incorporated two of my ultimate favorite cheeses and was upgraded with a colorful tomato topping. It was really delicious- a new favorite!
This dish was part of my husband’s birthday feast this year. I was able to assemble the dish the day prior to baking it which was very helpful. I actually grated the cheeses two days in advance- which would be completely unnecessary if making this dish on its own, of course.
The recipe was adapted from FoodNetwork.com, contributed by Ina Garten. I modified the method and used Campari tomatoes and panko in the topping.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8 as a main dish or 10 to 12 as a side dish
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound (16 oz) elbow macaroni or cavatappi (I used 17.6 oz Gigli pasta)
- 4 cups (1 quart) milk (I used whole milk)
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (about 4 cups)(I used Swiss Raw Milk Le Gruyère aged over 120 days from Trader Joe’s)
- 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, grated (about 2 cups)(I used Cabot 3-year extra-sharp white cheddar)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 8 Campari tomatoes or 4 small tomatoes (about 3/4 pound)
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. (I set my oven to convection.)
- Grate the cheeses with a food processor, if desired.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain well. Reserve the pot for the sauce.
- Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it.
- Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in the large pot (the pasta cooking 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 a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth.
- Off the heat, add the shredded Gruyere, cheddar, 1 tablespoon coarse salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
- Add the cooked pasta and stir well.
- Pour into a 3-quart baking dish. (I chose a shallow baking dish to increase the surface area for tomatoes and crispy panko topping.)*If making in advance, cover and refrigerate after this step.
- Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. (I sliced the tomatoes about 1/4-inch thick.)
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine with the panko, and sprinkle on the top.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the pasta is browned on the top.
Note: To make ahead, put the macaroni and cheese in the baking dish, cover, and refrigerate until ready to bake. Put the tomatoes and panko on top and bake for about 40 to 50 minutes.
Ina for the win! I make this all the time.
You are such an Ina fan- should have checked in with you for a review first! 😉
Cheese and tomatoes. Now that’s a winning combination. 🧀🍃🍅
I agree- The tomatoes added so much! 🙂