Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Giada & Ina's Macaroni and Cheese

Here's another recipe to tide you over until I get my holiday recipes up. I think I decided today on the main course for my husband and I's Christmas Eve dinner!This recipe is my own combination of two great macaroni and cheese recipes from Ina Garten and Giada de Laurentiis, my two favorite Food Network chefs. It's defintely a more "grown up" version. It uses fontina, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses instead of cheddar, and is topped with tomatoes. I love the extra flavor the tomatoes add! Ina's recipe called for gruyere, which I am sure would be fabulous, but at the store I went to gruyere was so expensive it would've cost me $20 for the cheese alone for this recipe, so I used the cheese in Giada's, fontina. I'd never worked with fontina before, and it's creamy and mild. You could, of course, use any cheese you like. I think the first time I made this recipe I just used a shredded Italian cheese blend to save money. Since I was making this for our small group's Christmas dinner, I splurged a little on the cheese. This macaroni and cheese is best the next day, so its a great make ahead dish. Make it the night before and just warm it in the oven before serving. Unfortunately, there are no pictures (got in too much of a hurry), but I will be glad to share my recipe with you!

Giada & Ina's Macaroni and Cheese
adapted from two recipes courtesy Ina Garten & Giada de Laurentiis
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 12 ounces of your favorite pasta (I used corkscrews)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups grated Fontina cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley (or 2 tablespoons fresh parsley)
  • 1 large or 2 small tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs


First, spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.Cook your pasta in a pot of boiling, salted water until just al dente, about 6 minutes. Remember it's going in the oven later, so it should still have a bite to it. After the pasta is done cooking, drain well. Do not rinse.Whisk the cream, milk, flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl to blend. Stir in 1 cup Fontina, 1/2 cup parmesan, 1/2 cup mozzarella, and parsley. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Transfer the noodle mixture to your baking dish.In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the melted butter. If it looks a little dry, add a little olive oil. Set aside. Slice the tomato into thin slices and set aside.Next, top the noodles with the tomatoes, the remaining cheese, then the breadcrumbs. Put into the oven for 30 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are brown and cheese is bubbly. Let it sit on the counter for at least 10 minutes prior to serving.

Hint: If during baking your breadcrumbs become too brown, cover the mac and cheese with foil.

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