Ina’s Mac & Cheese

Last night I was home and after eating fabulous macaroni and cheese at Kitchen and Cocktails, I was inspired to find a macaroni recipe I could call my own. I ended up choosing Ina Garten’s version from her family style cookbook. As my mom and I have had a lot of luck with her other recipes, namely the apple crisp. MMMMM!

The recipe calls for :

1qt milk (4 cups)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick butter
1 lb pasta, your choice (I recommend shells over macaroni)
1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used 3/4 cup and it was PLENTY)
4 cups grated gruyere
2 cups grated white cheddar
1 tbs kosher salt
1/2 t ground pepper
1/2 t nutmeg


Preheat oven to 375.
Melt 3/4 of the stick of butter and whisk the cup of flour in until you have a paste-y texture.
While you’re melting butter and whisking, pour the milk in a saucepan and heat (do NOT boil).
Boil water for the noodles. And once boiling add noodles, only for about 6 minutes. *You want to
UNDERcook the noodles as they will continue to cook in the oven.*
Grate all the cheese and mix with the spices (salt, pepper and nutmeg).
Add the hot milk to the butter/flour mixture. Stir for about 10 minutes until you have a thickened and smooth texture.
Take the milk mixture OFF the stove now and pour in a bowl. Add the cheese and spices and fold.
Melt the remainder of the butter stick in a small saucepan and add the breadcrumbs. When browned take off the heat.
Once pasta is done drain well and pour in a baking dish. Mix the pasta and cheese mixture well.
Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
Bake in oven for about 30 minutes, until cheese is bubbling, shell tips on top are a little darker, and breadcrumbs are browned on top.

Everyone in my family was pleased with the macaroni. I prefer my macaroni to be a little bit on the lighter cheese side so next time I might use less milk and less cheese all together. You can also add a veggie of choice. Ina’s recipe called for sliced tomatoes on top. I chose to nuke 2 cups of broccoli in the microwave before I put the dish in the oven. Tasted fabulous. A perfect beginning of fall dish!



About Moni

Lover of life, singer of songs and soon-to-be creator of pretty things. I'm a former digital media editor who's launching a clothing line in 2018. When I'm not wife-ing and mom-ing, I'm walking the dog, drinking wine (or tequila) and planning future camping trips. And thrifting, binging on true crime shows, and wishing I was SUP-ing somewhere along the Pacific coast.
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24 Responses to Ina’s Mac & Cheese

  1. Amy says:

    Sounds yummy! I was just thinking today that this is the time when it really starts to feel like fall back home. Still warm and sunny here, though the sun is setting earlier. I wonder when I’ll start to crave comfort food…

  2. Alicat says:

    Mmm.. Homemade mac & jack (as I call it) is the best! Although, I think I tend to ruin any good mac recipe because I have to put KETCHUP on my macaroni. :S It’s a sickness, I know.Yours looks mighty tasty anyways! :)

  3. Thanks for the comment. I love cuisine. If you want to try Colombian Food just tell me.

  4. Melissa says:

    Wow…..that looks great! I think it is so cool that you AND your mom share cookbooks. Do you cook together too?

  5. Mona says:

    *Amy, yes, that’s the one thing I missed living on the west coast. The New England seasons (fall mostly). I can totally do without the nasty summers here…Comfort food cravings are the best!*Alicat, mac and jack. That’s great! I ‘ll have to substitute the gruyere next time for jack.Ketchup? AAH! That is too funny. I think I prefer mine dry.Chuli, colombian food is one thing I do not know at all. I will try to venture to a Colombian restaurant very soon.Melissa, well. That’s a loaded question :) My mom has a ton of cookbooks and I think I use them more than she does. I’m lucky enough that I live in NY but my home is a short hour train ride away. So I usually head home for relaxing weekends and to try new recipes. Last night she DID cook with me however. We were both excited with the result, and so was my dad (despite his reluctancy to try broccoli in the m&c).

  6. I’ve looked at buying Ina’s book a number of times, but being vegetarian (usually of the lacto-ovo sort), I just couldn’t justify it. I remember reading this mac ‘n cheese recipe and it did look soooooo yummie. Does she use cream? I seem to remember thinking that it was very fattening…?? If so, it’s good to hear you used milk and it came out well.

  7. IndyFoodie says:

    I love Ina! Her Barfoot in Paris Book is really good too! I haven’t tried the mac and cheese yet…I’ll have to try that!

  8. Mona says:

    *Cherry Begonia, no cream dear! None at all, just the milk! I’m sure there’s a way for you to invent your own version somehow, I hope anyway!*Indy, ha! Don’t worry, my mom is a nut and she not only has a copy of each of her books. But she has double copies. One for our house in CT and one for our house (at risk of sounding like a total snob) in CA….aaaah :)

  9. Janice says:

    Hi Mona – I just stumbled in and was intrigued by your Mac & Cheese. What wonderful comfort food. Interestingly, both Alton Brown (Good Eats) and Rachel Ray did Mac & Cheese this week. Rachel’s had wienies. Alton also did a quick recipe for kids. Might be worth checking out.I’ll be back. . .like your site!Janice

  10. Mona says:

    Janice, my boyfriend told me last night that Alton did something on mac and cheese. So funny and what a must be the fall weather or something. Everyone wants some m&c!Thanks for your comments. I checked out your blog and will be going back more often.Take care!

  11. Paz says:

    This looks good! I’ve enjoyed quite a few of Ina’s recipes.Paz

  12. s'kat says:

    It’s not quite mac n’ cheese time here just yet, but your posting is a wonderful tiding of good things that await just around the corner. My go-to recipe is Martha Stewart’s, and I usually (blush) go heavy-handed with the cheese!What kind of wine did you have with it- any good?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Cherry Begonia-What does the ovo in Lacto-ovo vegetarian mean? Just curious. What are some of your favorite dishes? I have some vegetarian friends, and they just eat a ton of fried foods…..Mona’s friend

  14. Mona’s Friend:Hello! We are hijacking Mona’s blog! Well, I’m vegetarian but I get sloppy (especially over recipes I can’t resist like Mona’s MAC ‘N CHEESE post) and eat/drink milk/cheese/eggs. That’s lacto-ovo. A vegetarian that eats fish would be a pesco-vegetarian. Vegans and straight-vegetarians would say that if you eat anything I just mentioned you are not, in fact, vegetarian at all. :-) I wish I posted more often on my ‘lil blog because I have FABULOUS vegetarian recipes which would keep your friends away from that nasty fried stuff. Also, if they can take advantage of soy “meats” ( or, a vegetarian can make a lot of the recipes that normal-foodies make. – Even Mac ‘n cheese – Mary Lou Henner makes a version with soy milk and cheese that is decent.Anyhow, I only eat fried foods when I’m really stressed, when my fiance coerces me or when I’m just feel’n like a bad girl! *smiles*Otherwise, I try to stick to organic or whole foods when possible.Hmm.. yeah, I’m gonna have to try to post more. I need a better camera though.

  15. Mona says:

    Yay! My blog has been hijacked. Keep it up guys! Ha, and I’m doing some reconaissance to see who “mona’s friend” is because I don’t even know-ha!*Paz, thanks for your comment. Yah, Ina seems to get a lot of things right. *S’kat, no need to blush. Life’s too short to skimp on the cheese :) Let me get back to you on the wine we drank, what I recall is it was VERY good! My mom and I decided to get a halfcase of wine all under $15 to sample. 3 red and 3 whites and our local liquor guy was very helpful in picking out some exciting sounding wines.*CB, yah, I need to get a camera too. I’ve been mooching off my Dad’s and Swimsters. I have one but it’s the cadillac (or buick) of digital cameras. I want a smaller less conspicuous one.

  16. melissa says:

    Wow, there’s so much to comment on here! First, I recommend the Macaroni and Cheese recipe from Saveur Cooks American. My roommate and I made it one Valentine’s day for our sweeties, and love was in the air. Or maybe that was just the smell of the garlic bread.Second, Mona: I have a Canon 20D, and while photography is my passion and getting a good shot is easier with this camera, sometimes it feels like the whole restaurant is staring at me while I get 15 close-ups of my pot stickers. I know some folks use camera phones. I would be interested in learning what has worked for other bloggers.

  17. joey says:

    Oh that looks so good and creamy…I never had mac and cheese growing up, only tasted it much later…so I see it more as a yummy foreign treat than a comfort food :)

  18. Ugh, I use my camera phone and it’s such a piece of crap. Motorola V551…if you’ve seen the pics on my blog, that’s what I’m using. But I bet there are decent ones out there. …It is handy to use, that’s for sure.

  19. Mona says:

    Camera chronies unite! Ha, yes, Melissa, I can totally relate to the NOT wanting to bust the camera out at the table. Kind of a embarrassing, kind of an attention-magnet. I’m writing about a dinner right now and the place was so fancy I couldn’t bring myself to use the camera. So, my friends will have to make it through all the writing sans pics :( Joey, funny to think about mac and cheese being a “foreign dish.” What would the mac and cheese “counterpart” be from where you’re from? CB, yah, my camera phone ain’t so hot either…even for pix I keep just for the display.

  20. peeps says:

    Mona – this looks delicious. I’m definitely going to being trying it! I also have to give a second to Melissa’s recommendation of the Saveur recipe – it really is delicious! I don’t have it in front of me, but what made it so memorable to me was carmelizing onions, simmering them in wine, and making a light, onion/wine-infused roux the base of the sauce! It’s like an old favorite in a party dress – all the comfort of nostalgia, and all the benefits of maturing tastebuds. As for cameras, I’m loving – and using – the commentary as I’m also trying to figure out which one to get.

  21. Catesa says:

    yep, i know what im making next time a pasta craving hits! looks delicious!

  22. Mona says:

    *Peeps, thanks for stopping by and dropping a comment :) I’ve tried this mac and cheese from a place we get takeout from and they have onions, kinda sounds like the recipe you mentioned. I will have to look up the Saveur one and give it a try per all these raves no it!*Catesa, let me know when you try it, and take pix of how it turns out : ) I should have taken a closeup of the oozing cheese and shells..

  23. skroah says:

    Funny this is the one I chose as well. I got sick of trying to find it on the food tv website so I googled it and found your site. I add a little dijon, good gruyere and fresh tomatoes and japanese bread crumbs on top. Wild mushrooms sometimes as well.

  24. Pingback: Comfort Food: Ina Garten’s Macaroni and Cheese Recipe | Wine + Quill

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