Finding Thyme to Cook

Thyme is of the Essence

Comfort Food 101 – Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

Adapted from Ina Garten

Is there anything more comforting than a wonderul hot bubbly macaroni and cheese straight from the oven?   I didn’t think so.   I think everyone developed a love for macaroni and cheese as a toddler.   After all, most kids start out loving plain pasta with butter and then take the next step to that creamy mac and cheese from the “blue box.”    After that, we realize there are two “players” in the mac and cheese arena.  Those who insist on the “blue box” version of their childhood and those who like it less saucy with a crusty top.  Obviously we prefer the latter!!!  I have made this with tomatoes (which is included in the original recipe – sliced on top before the breadcrumb layer), and I have added cooked ham, peas, bacon and other stuff, but my favorite is plain old fashioned unadorned macaroni and cheese.  This is a keeper!!!

  • Kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 quart milk
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter – divided
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 12 ounces Gruyere – grated (4 cups)
  • 8 ounces Cheddar Cheese – grated (2 cups)
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) 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. . .

and coats the back of a wooden spoon. 

Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Add the cooked macaroni and stir well.

Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.



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