I thought it was a little pricey to make -- the Gruyere is 16.99/lb, and the sharp cheddar is 8.99/lb, for a grand total of about 14.00 just in cheese to make this dish. I know, it sounds like I'm being cheap, and I shouldn't expect dinner to be less expensive just because there's no meat involved...but this ain't exactly Kraft Dinner for 1.98!
Use the cavatapi as Ina suggests; it's a fun shape and dresses it up a little bit. I served it as a side dish to her Turkey Meatloaf, and for a vegetable we had Sauteed Green Beans with Almonds (from The Joy of Cooking). No pics of the meatloaf or the green beans!
Mac & Cheese
Source: Barefoot Contessa Family Style, p. 202
1 lb. elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 qt. milk
8 T. butter, divided
1/2 c. flour
12 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated (4 c.)
8 oz. extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 c.)
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper
1/2 t. nutmeg
4 small tomatoes
1 1/2 c. fresh white breadcrumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
Preheat the oven to 375.
Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to package directions, about 6-8 minutes. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt 6 T. butter in a large (4 qt.) 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 cheeses, 1 T. salt pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked pasta and stir well. Pour into a 3-qt. baking dish.
Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 2 T. butter, combine them with the fresh breadcrumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on top.