Gruyere and Cheddar Mac and Cheese
Using an unusual pasta shape, such as campanelle or straccetti, elevates macaroni and cheese from the everyday to the elegant, especially when you use a combination of cheeses, such as Gruyère, cheddar and Parmesan. Here, we bake it in a Le Creuset shallow oven, but any baking dish with a capacity of about 3 quarts (3 l) will do.
- 1 lb. (500 g) dried short pasta, such as straccetti or campanelle
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) milk
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) half-and-half
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 cups (6 oz./180 g) shredded Gruyère cheese
- 1 1/2 cups (6 oz./180 g) shredded white cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Preheat an oven to 375°F (180°C).
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until not quite al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package instructions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. While the pasta is still warm, drizzle with the olive oil and stir well.
Return the saucepan to medium-high heat and melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring well, until the flour is thoroughly incorporated, 1 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk, half-and-half, nutmeg and a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer, whisking frequently to smooth out any lumps, for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add a pinch of pepper and two-thirds each of the Gruyère and cheddar. Stir until smooth.
Pour the cheese sauce onto the macaroni and stir well. Transfer to a Le Creuset 2.75-quart shallow oven or large baking dish with a similar capacity and top with the remaining one-third Gruyère and cheddar and all of the Parmesan. Sprinkle evenly with the panko. Bake until the top is lightly browned and the sauce is bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6.
Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen