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
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.
This dish was part of our Thanksgiving feast as a second potato dish to compliment my son’s mashed potatoes. (He almost exclusively eats potatoes on Thanksgiving Day!)
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by J. Kenji López-Alt, from his book titled “The Food Lab.” I substituted unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes for the peeled russet potatoes and added extra garlic and cheese. 😉 I actually added the cheese at the wrong time (oops!) and was thankfully still quite pleased with the results.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
Time: about 2 hours
3+ ounces finely grated Gruyère or Comté cheese
2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 cups heavy cream
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 T fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 1/2 to 5 pounds unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced 1/8-inch thick on a mandoline
2 T unsalted butter
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
Combine cheeses in a large bowl.
Transfer 1/3 of the cheese mixture to a separate bowl and set aside.
Add cream, garlic, and thyme to cheese mixture.
Season generously with salt and pepper.
Add potato slices and toss with your hands until every slice is coated with cream mixture, making sure to separate any slices that are sticking together to get the cream mixture in between them.
Grease a 2-quart casserole dish dish with butter.
Pick up a handful of potatoes, organizing them into a neat stack, and lay them in the casserole dish with their edges aligned vertically.
Continue placing potatoes in the dish, working until all of the potatoes have been added. The potatoes should be very tightly packed. (If necessary, slice an additional potato, coat with cream mixture, and add to casserole.)
Pour the excess cream/cheese mixture evenly over the potatoes until the mixture comes halfway up the sides of the casserole. (You may not need all of the excess!)
Cover the dish tightly with foil and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is pale golden brown, about 30 minutes longer.
Carefully remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and return to the oven. Bake until deep golden brown and crisp on top, about 30 minutes.
Remove from oven, let rest for a few minutes, and serve.
This dish was the perfect way to celebrate my beautiful CSA cauliflower. Although the base of this tagine was a bit spicy, the cauliflower and cheesy breadcrumb topping offset the spiciness and created a perfect balance. Because I didn’t have the Tunisian spice blend, Tabil, on hand, I was able to create the spice blend myself. The spiciness in the final dish could be easily modified by adjusting the amount of red pepper flakes in the spice blend.
The tagine recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Nancy Harmon Jenkins. I reduced the amount of olive oil to lighten the recipe. I also included a leek as well as green and yellow bell peppers from my CSA share. The spice blend recipe was adapted from Epicurious.com. It was a full-flavored and fabulous vegetarian casserole.
For the Tabil Spice Blend:
Yield: about 3 tablespoons
1 1/2 T coriander seeds
2 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 T caraway seeds
1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Finely grind all ingredients in a spice mill.
Note: The remaining spice blend can be reserved in an airtight container at room temperature.
For the Tagine:
Yield: Serves 6
8 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 leek, cut into half moons and rinsed
10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 tablespoons Tabil (recipe above)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup water
2 1/2-pounds cauliflower (about 1 to 1 1/2 heads), cored and cut into 2-inch florets
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
3 ounces, 1 cup, Gruyère cheese, shredded
5 large eggs, beaten
Preheat the oven to 400°, preferably on convection.
Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and leek and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.
Add the garlic, bell pepper, paprika, Tabil, tomato paste and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pepper softens, about 7 minutes.
Add the sun-dried tomatoes and water and simmer for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to the prepared baking dish.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the cauliflower until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Spread the cauliflower in the baking dish.
In a small bowl, toss the bread crumbs with the Gruyère and season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the beaten eggs; spread the mixture over the cauliflower.
Cover with foil and bake in the upper third of the oven for 15 minutes, or until bubbling around the edges.
Uncover and bake for about 15 minutes longer, until browned and crisp on top.
Let the tagine stand for 10 minutes before serving.
I had to make this lovely summer gratin as soon as I saw a photo of it. So pretty and colorful! 🙂 It is a wonderful celebration of the bounty of summer squash.
We ate it as a vegetarian main dish with a crusty sourdough baguette. It would also be a fabulous side dish. This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Laura Rege. I used sweet cipollini onions from my CSA box in addition to the leeks.
After adding an additional sautéed CSA cipollini onion, I also made a mini-gratin with my leftover filling. 🙂 Great.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6 as a main dish (plus an additional mini-gratin, above, optional)
5 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 small leeks, white and tender green parts thinly sliced into rounds
2 cipollini onions, halved and cut into slices (plus 1 additional onion if making a mini-gratin)
1/4 cup dry white wine (plus 1 additional T if making a mini-gratin)
3 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices, preferably on a mandoline
3 medium yellow summer squash, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices, preferably on a mandoline
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup finely shredded Gruyère (about 2 ounces)
1 plum tomato, very thinly sliced crosswise
flaky sea salt, for finishing
crusty bread such as a sourdough baguette, for serving
Preheat the oven to 425°, preferably on convection.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over moderately high heat. Add the leeks, and onions, if using, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Spread in a 9-inch round baking dish.
Using a mandolin, slice the squash lengthwise into 1/8-inch slices.
Meanwhile, on 4 large baking sheets, spread the zucchini and yellow squash and brush with the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil; season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with the cheese and let sit until slightly softened, about 5 minutes or up to 1 hour.
Tightly roll 1 piece of zucchini and set it on the leeks in the center of the dish.
Working outward from that center slice, continue rolling and coiling additional pieces of zucchini and yellow squash until you reach the edge of the baking dish.
Season the tomato slices with salt and pepper, then tuck in intervals between the zucchini and squash.
Scrape any cheese off of the baking sheets and sprinkle on top.
Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the zucchini and squash are tender and browned in spots. (I cooked mine for 33 minutes, and 27 minutes for the mini)
Remove from oven. While hot, sprinkle with sea salt.
Note: If making the additional mini-gratin, saute the additional onion, adding 1 T wine cooking as directed above. Place in the bottom of a mini-pie dish and layer remaining squash and cheese. Cook as directed.
This dish could have fed an army. It was GIGANTIC. I would describe it as French onion soup meets oozy casserole. Full-flavored, cheese-covered comfort food. The thinly sliced butternut squash and fresh herbs layered into the bread, caramelized onions, and cheese added a little bit of excitement as well as color and nutrition. 😉
This recipe was adapted from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. Lebovitz stated that this is one of those dishes that improves as it sits… thank goodness! We had lots of leftovers. 🙂 I added additional homemade stock to the leftovers, before reheating, just to make it a little bit soupier.
2 quarts (2 l) warm chicken or turkey stock, plus additional stock for serving, as desired
2-pound butternut squash or other winter squash such as Kabocha, peeled, seeded and sliced into 1/8-inch slices
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups grated Comte, Gruyere, Jarlsberg, or Fontina cheese
1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz /45 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
Melt the butter with the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. (I used an enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
Add the onions, 4 cloves of sliced garlic, and 1 teaspoon of the herbs. Cook for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are completely wilted and beginning to brown on the bottom and edges.
While the onions are cooking, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Put the slices of bread on baking sheets in a single layer and toast in the oven, turning the slices over midway, until both sides are dry, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven.
When cool enough to handle, rub both sides of the bread with the whole garlic cloves.
Slice the peeled and seeded squash into 1/8-inch slices. (I used a mandoline.)
When the onions are done, pour in the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen up any of the flavorful brown bits. Cook for a minute or two, until the wine is absorbed.
Add 2 cups of the stock to the onions and cook until the stock is mostly absorbed 10 to 15 minutes, and then add the rest of the stock and heat until the stock is hot. Remove from heat.
To assemble the Panade, cover the bottom of a 3 to 4 quart (3-4 l), 3+inch (8 cm) deep, baking dish with a layer of bread, breaking any pieces so they fit in a single layer, but keeping them as large as possible.
Ladle about half of the onions and some of the stock over the bread, and then cover with half of the squash slices. Season lightly with salt, pepper, and half of the remaining herbs.
Sprinkle with 1/2 cup (40 g) of the Comte.
Add a second layer of bread and ladle the rest of the onions and more stock over the bread. Cover with remaining squash slices. Season the squash with salt, pepper, and the remaining herbs.
Sprinkle another 1/2 cup (40 g) of Comte over the squash layer.
Cover the squash with a final layer of bread and then ladle the rest of the stock over the bread.
Press down on the ingredients to encourage them to meld together.
Top with remaining 1 cup (90 g) Comte, and the Parmesan.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and tighten it around the edges. Don’t press it down on the surface or some cheese may stick to the foil during baking.
Set the baking dish on a parchment paper or foil-lined rimmed baking sheet to catch any spills.
Bake for 45 minutes, uncover the Panade, and bake for another 30 minutes, or until it is very well browned and crisp on top.
Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving. Spoon portions into shallow soup bowls, making sure each serving is topped with crusty topping.
Yes! More baked rice! 🙂 SO so SO delicious!! This one is loaded with cheese. It is meant to be served as an indulgent side dish, but we ate it as a main dish with a green salad. I loved it. It had fabulous contrasting textures.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. This wonderful dish is an upgrade of one of his favorite family casseroles.
Yield: 6 servings
1 pound spinach (about 2 bunches), washed
1 ½ cups long-grain white rice, such as Carolina, Jasmine, or Basmati
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter, plus more to butter the baking dish
1 cup grated Parmesan
½ cup slivered almonds
1 cup ricotta
1 cup grated Gruyère
¼ cup currants or raisins
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
1 teaspoon chopped sage
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add spinach and wilt for 30 seconds. Remove with a wire mesh spider or tongs and rinse in a colander with cold water. Squeeze dry and chop roughly.
In the same pot, boil the rice for 10 minutes, keeping it slightly underdone. Drain and spread on a baking sheet to cool, then transfer to a large bowl.
Heat oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection.
Butter a 2-quart soufflé dish (or other baking dish) and dust with about 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add almonds and cook, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Season lightly with salt and add contents of skillet to rice.
Add remaining Parmesan to rice, along with the ricotta, Gruyère, currants, nutmeg, lemon zest, thyme and sage. Season lightly with salt and add pepper to taste.
Add chopped spinach and gently toss rice with hands or wooden spoons to distribute ingredients evenly.
Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. (May be prepared up to this point several hours in advance of baking.)
Cover and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 10 minutes more, until top is browned.
I have wanted to try making gougères for what is starting to seem like forever. As they are dangerous items to have around, I needed a crowd to share them with! When we were asked to bring an appetizer to a friend’s birthday party, I finally had my chance.
Of course, the next issue was selecting a version to try. There was a cheese-topped choux pastry from Food and Wine, a version incorporating milk and less cheese from Ina Garten, or this super-cheesy version adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Mimi Thorisson. My description reveals how my final decision was made. 😉
Elegant and addictive.
Yield: about 50-60 cheese puffs
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
6 ounces (about 1½ cups) grated Comté cheese or Gruyère
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg yolk
Preheat oven to 400°, preferably on convection.
Bring butter, salt, nutmeg, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until butter is melted.
Remove from heat, add flour, and stir to combine.
Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon, until mixture pulls away from sides of pan and forms a ball, about 2 minutes.
Continue to cook, stirring vigorously, until a dry film forms on bottom and sides of pan and dough is no longer sticky, about 2 minutes longer.
Remove pan from heat and let dough cool slightly, about 2 minutes.
Mix in whole eggs one at a time, incorporating fully between additions.
Mix in cheese and pepper.
Scrape dough into a piping bag fitted with a ½” round tip (#1A) (alternatively, use a plastic bag with a ½” opening cut diagonally from 1 corner). Pipe 1” rounds about 2” apart onto 2 to 3 parchment-lined baking sheets, as needed.
Whisk egg yolk and 1 tsp water in a small bowl; brush rounds with egg wash.
Bake gougères until puffed and golden and dry in the center (they should sound hollow when tapped), 20–25 minutes.
Note: Dough can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill.
Make Ahead: Gougères can be baked 2 hours ahead and kept at room temperature; reheat before serving. Alternatively, the baked choux can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days; recrisp in a 325° oven for 10 minutes.