Friday, April 25, 2008

Ina's Creamy Cavatapi

I meant to blog about this the other day but didn't get the chance. I know this picture is not gorgeous, but it's Barefoot Contessa's Mac & Cheese recipe and Lord have mercy, it is to DIE FOR (or from, if you ate enough of it!). I honestly am not that much of a pasta girl, but I could not keep from sticking my fork in this, it's that amazing! Even my notoriously picky oldest child was fighting his sisters for second helpings, and that never, ever happens at our house.
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
Serves: 6-8
Source: Barefoot Contessa Family Style, p. 202

Vegetable Oil
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.


Peter M said...

Leah, I think the dish looks good and it sounds great...I like the tomato twist to Mac & cheese.

Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict....You Decide said...

I have not made this recipe yet but I think I am going to try it. What turkey meatloaf recipe do you use???? I have tried a couple and always looking for different ones. Ina's recipes ALWAYS turn out great!

MrOrph said...

You have a winner here. Who doesn't love mac-n-cheese? No box please!!!

Vicarious Foodie said...

Oh my goodness this looks so good! I love the tomatoes and breadcrumb crust on top. I would love this!

RecipeGirl said...

An Ina recipe I haven't made yet?? I didn't think that was possible :) Looks great!

Anonymous said...

This looks amazingly good!! To save on the ingredients for this, I always buy the cheese at a wholesale club. So much cheapher, it's ridiculous.

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Tanya said...

Now that sounds delicious and I have to make it this weekend! Thanks for another great recipe idea :)

We Are Never Full said...

I'm not a big Ina fan, but I do think this looks lovely. I think it looks rustic and creamy! Great job... it's a high-end mac and cheese. i'm amazed she didn't ask you to throw some white truffles in the too, just to drive the price up a bit more!

thanks for stopping by my blog!

amy @ we are never full

Prudy said...

Wow-I'm so glad I found your blog. Everything looks so delicious and your kitchen is adorable. I'll be back!

EAT! said...

I love this recipe - have you made Barefoot's penne with 5 cheeses?? It is delicious!!!

Elly said...

Ooh *I* think it looks gorgeous! And it sounds so good. Ina never fails to impress. And neither does gruyere ;)

Abby said...

You have so many great recipes on here! I can tell you love to spend time in the kitchen. I haven't made many of the Contessa's recipes, but I do have one of her books. I'll have to break it out and take a closer look!