Gruyere Mac and Cheese

WARNING: If you do not like copious amounts of wonderful butter, cheese and heavy cream in your main dishes, then you probably won’t enjoy this post.

For the rest of you, welcome to my incredibly satisfying, highly fattening Tuesday night supper.

I’ve said it once, but I’ll say it again.  GRUYERE.  My GOODNESS.  How can one small ingredient wield such amazing flavours?  It’s miraculous and fantastic.  If gruyere and brie had a love child I would either marry it or eat it.

I wanted to make one main course dinner meal for my family before leaving for Ottawa this weekend.  Since I’m getting my wisdom teeth out tomorrow and will likely be unable to do anything but drool deliriously and be fed jello through a straw, I figured today was a good day to make it.  I also made dessert, which I’m scheduling to post in a few days, so stay tuned for that.

While Annie’s Eats is my absolute favourite blog for getting dessert recipes and ideas, I’d never made any of her main courses before.  I changed two little things from her original recipe.  The first was buying gruyere cheese instead of fontina cheese (I’ve never heard of this type of cheese before, what is it?!) and the second was using normal bread crumbs versus these special panko ones.  This recipe was one that I had inadvertently bookmarked on three separate occasions (sadly true, I counted), so I decided I finally had to make it.  Something that’s wonderful about cooking for your family?  Your mom buys all the ingredients.  That’s right, say hello to $15 worth of gruyere cheese!  And fresh parmesan.  Grocery shopping is a glorious experience when you’re not paying for it.

This was also just a really fast dinner to make.  At approximately 4:54 p.m. this evening, my mom strolled into the living room to find me curled up on the arm chair reading, a position which I had held for approximately five hours that day.  She informed me that supper needed to be ready for 5:30 at the very latest, since everyone would be absolutely famished.  Mission accomplished.  At around 5:27 p.m., the casserole dish of bubbling pasta was rushed up to my bedroom to be photographed.  Why my bedroom?  Well I’m the only room on the west side of the house and the winter light was fading fast.  Also, I had already prepared a mini photo studio for this meal by my window, involving a charming wicker table from the spare bedroom and an old folded apron.  ‘Nuff said.

Verdict: THIS WAS AWESOME.  So creamy.  So cheesy.  I have such a stomach ache now from mac and cheese and the dessert that shall not yet be named.  I need to fast as of 10 p.m. tonight, so it best be on a full stomach!

PS: I’m kind of really fond of these pictures.  Not so much the one of the entire casserole dish, but I love the ones of my plate.  Perhaps that wasn’t a very modest comment.  Oh well.

Recipe: Gruyere Mac and Cheese
Adapted from Annie’s Eats, Fontina Mac and Cheese

–  450 grams large pasta shells
– 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
– 1 cup whipping cream
– 8 oz. gruyere cheese, shredded
– Salt, to taste
– Pinch of ground nutmeg
–  1/3 cup bread crumbs
– 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until 1-2 minutes shy of al dente.

Meanwhile, dice 4 tablespoons of the butter and place in a large mixing bowl.  Warm the cream in a small saucepan.  Cover to keep warm.

Once the pasta is cooked, add to the bowl with the butter and toss to coat well.  Stir in the warm cream and the gruyere until the cheese starts to melt.  Mix in salt to taste, and add the nutmeg.

Pour the mixture into a buttered 2-quart casserole dish.  In a small bowl, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.  Mix in the breadcrumbs and shredded Parmesan.  Toss with a fork to coat evenly with the butter.  Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the pasta in the baking dish.

Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the topping turns golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Serve immediately.  Makes 4 servings.

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4 thoughts on “Gruyere Mac and Cheese

  1. omggg HILARY!! my mouth is watering….. please make some delicious dinner back in ottawa so i can mad mooch :) please and thanks!!

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