Monday, January 17, 2011

Tay Makes Ina's Mac

**Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day everyone! MLK Jr's favorite food was macaroni and cheese. Ok, I made that up. But it could be true**


I love to hate Ina Garten. 

I think she has fantastic taste and style and there is no doubt the woman is one of the most talented culinary minds we have today. She also makes an incredible martini.

But she seems so haughty. And why does she always tell me to use a GOOD olive oil. Why does she assume that I would dare to use MEDIOCRE olive oil?

Anyway, I'm glad that I got that off my chest.  Let's move along, shall we?

Did you know that Ina was a White House nuclear policy analyst? She was. Pretty impressive.

Today's recipe comes from the beloved Ina. The result was delicious. At one point, before baking, I thought that the sauce to noodle ratio was off. It wasn't. It turned out very well. My cousins and uncle gobbled it right up like good fellas. I prepared this mac and cheese this summer, so the tomatoes were especially lovely. 

The recipe can be found by clicking here. 


- Kosher salt
- Vegetableoil
- 1 pound elbow macaroni {I used Fusilli. Mostly because I enjoy saying the word. Also because I enjoy things in corkscrew shape. This is because it reminds me of wine. And I love wine. Mmmm. Also, the grooves in the Fusilli hold the cheese sauce very nicely.}
- 1 quart whole milk
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter {divided into 6 tablespoons and 2 tablespoons}
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 12 ounces (4 cups) grated Gruyere
- 8 ounces (2 cups) extra-sharp Cheddar
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3/4 pound (4 small) fresh tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups (5 slices; crusts removed) fresh white bread crumbs


- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

- Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes  (I would cook for 4-5 minutes if I were you)

- Drain well.

- 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.

- Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar.
{don't you just love a recipe that calls for 6 cups of cheese?}

 throw some cheese at a wiener. wieners love cheese.

- Also add 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

  - Add the cooked pasta and stir well.

- Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

- Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top.

- 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.

Enjoy the oh-so-cheesy goodness......



1) I freeze my cheese for about 30 minutes to make grating easier. 

2) If you have bread that is about to go stale, stick it in the freezer and save it for making breadcrumbs! Way better than something you could buy at the store. 

3) I thought the pasta to sauce ratio was going to be off on this recipe, but it turned out perfectly. Don't be worried when you put everything in the oven. The roux will thicken everything while it's baking. Good job, little Roux. 

4) I followed the cooking directions on the Fusilli and the end result turned out to be a tad over cooked. I would recommend cooking the pasta for 3/4 of the recommended time. It will continue to cook while baking and should end up being the perfect degree of tenderness!

5) Save the Rind from the Gruyere! Stick it in the freezer and save it for the next time you're making soup or stock. It adds a lovely flavor dimension according to Lynn Rossetto Kasper. :-)


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  2. Neyleen,
    First off; I so agree about Ina. Yes the woman is to be respected in all of her accomplishments, culinary or otherwise. Look her property and garden for goodness sake. Fresh cut flowers and green leafy plant life always in the center of a MAGNIFICENT place setting, ready for an amazing meal. She makes a “Big Deal” about all of her ingredients. (lol)
    Second; I LOVE YOUR BOLG! I love that you’re putting your passion of food (cheese) into words. I love that you are actually giving us something wonderful (recipes) to use. I love that you reference additional lovely tidbits of good information. I love your amazing pictures.
    Keep up the great work! It’s industrious, it’s a stress reliever and it’s Delicious. I am anxious to try these out. George’s Panko Mac-n-Cheese looked awesome.

    Barb 