Decadent Macaroni & Cheese

I don't like to lie to you.

In fact, I refuse to lie to you. So I'm not going to write this to you and pretend that this macaroni and cheese isn't the most decadent, filling and stomach-ache inducing of its kind. It is. But it's also the most delicious I've ever made. Or had. And I'd also be lying if I didn't tell you how I've been dreaming of it since preparing (and subsequently devouring) it at our dinner party on Saturday night.

This cheesy, rich macaroni & cheese is made grown-up by using cheeses for a sophisticated palette. No Velveeta here folks (though I'm not discounting its deliciousness). Instead, it's given an adult spin with Gruyere and Cheddar cheeses taking the spotlight. Since only a small portion is recommended (you know, for heart attack prevention purposes), we also dined on pulled pork and shredded turkey sandwiches with carrot-stuffed bell peppers made by my all-star chef Mom. Doesn't it scream Americana? I hope so, since that's the theme we were going for!

Since Mom is the keeper of the pulled pork/shredded turkey/stuffed pepper recipes, today I'm sharing with you my contribution to the main course, the mac & cheese. Is your mouth watering yet?

Decadent Macaroni & Cheese
*Adapted from Ina Garten
1 lb macaroni (elbow or cavatappi, which is what I used)
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 C all purpose flour
1 quart milk (4 C)
4 C Gruyere cheese, grated (12 oz)
2 C cheddar cheese, grated (8 oz)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 C bread crumbs (I used white bread with crusts removed)
1 tbsp kosher salt + more for pasta water

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta according to box directions (remember to salt the water). Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the milk, but do not boil it. In a separate, larger saucepan, melt 6 tbsp of butter and whisk in the flour until it forms a paste. Cook on low for 1-2 minutes, whisking constantly so that it doesn’t burn. Whisk in the milk, making sure that it all combines together and thickens. Turn off the heat and whisk or stir in the grated Gruyere and cheddar cheeses until smooth (Note: I grated mine the night before in my food processor fitted with the grater attachment. It made grating so much cheese a snap!). Stir in the nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Mix in the macaroni. I used one of my ginormous red mixing bowls to get 'er done. 

Place in a large baking dish. If making in advance, cover and set aside or refrigerate. If baking immediately, cover with breadcrumbs and bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes until browned and bubbly.

 

So there you have it. A tale of decadent, rich, creamy macaroni & cheese. Is it an everyday food? Certainly not. Is it enough to make you go mmmm? It certainly is. So what do you think? Are you a fan of macaroni & cheese? What's your favorite kind? And bonus question: What's your favorite decadent indulgence?