‘Tis the season for comfort food! Finally. It was 86 degrees the day before Thanksgiving. We swam and had hot dogs for dinner. 24 hours later, we were eating turkey and all the fixins with the air conditioner on. But not anymore!
Nothing says comfort like a bowl full of creamy, buttery carbs. The kind that warms you up from the inside out. And makes your jeans just a tad more difficult to button. Besides chicken pot pie and tortilla soup, one of our favorite comfort foods is macaroni and cheese. Our favorite mac & cheese is a slightly tweaked version of the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe, modified to give it just a little more bite. It’s rich. It’s creamy. A little can go a long way. Although it never goes as far as it should 🙂
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Baked Macaroni and Cheese topped with tomatoes. Our favorite mac and cheese is a slightly tweaked version of the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe, modified to give it just a little more bite. It’s rich and creamy.
- 1lb penne
- 8 Tbsp butter, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 Tbsp creole mustard
- 4 cups milk
- 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated (not pre-grated)
- 8 oz fontina, grated (not pre-grated)
- 8 oz gruyere, grated (not pre-grated)
- 3 roma tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1 1/2 cups panko
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Butter a 3 qt baking dish (or a 9×13 pan).
- Cook penne in salted water, stopping 2-3 minutes earlier than the directions on the package. Drain well.
- Heat 6 Tbsp of butter and garlic in a large sauce pan over medium heat (I use the pasta pot and leave the pasta in the colander).
- Add flour, stir, and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, until bubbly.
- Stir in creole mustard and slowly add the milk.
- Cook until very hot.
- Add the cheese and stir until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth. Season to taste.
- Add pasta to the sauce.
- Transfer pasta and sauce to the prepared dish. Top with tomato slices.
- Melt the remaining butter in a small bowl, drizzle over panko while stirring.
- Spread panko evenly over the pasta.
- Bake 25-30 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown.
Yields: 8 servings