It is so terribly hot in Seattle at the moment that unbeknownst to my children, I've resorted to devouring their Popsicles. "How come they're going so fast mommy?" My eyes dart up to the ceiling and I sheepishly respond, "You guys have been eating them all." Bad mommy.
As I type this blog entry today, the nanny has two loaves of Friendship Bread baking in the oven which has my kitchen/family room sweltering. That's dedication to baking I tell you.
If you're ready and willing to try this recipe despite the soaring temperatures, I suggest you strip down to your unmentionables before you begin (and just for the record, the nanny and I are fully clothed while baking the bread). For you see, I didn't realize on Friday that today would be as hot as it is. I'm not complaining, Seattle needs the sunshine just as much as the next city so I'm thankful for this tropical bliss. So I'm done dawdling, here's the recipe and step by step pictures too:
1 pound elbow macaroni (penne works great too)
1 quart whole milk
8 tbsps (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup flour
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1 tbsp Kosher salt
1/2 tspn freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tspn grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs (I use the crust and all of any bread I have. I've used day old french bread, Kalamata Olive bread, sliced whole wheat or plain wheat bread)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni (or penne) and cook according to the directions on the package. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4 quart) 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 Gruyere, Cheddar, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked pasta and stir well.
Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.
Note: To make ahead, put the macaroni and cheese int he baking dish, cover and refrigerate until ready to bake. Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes.
Barefoot Contessa Family Style, Episode#: IG1B07 Food Network