Gruyere and Sharp Chedder Mac n Cheese
Sometimes you just need some good ole Mac...
If I could live in these knit christmas leggings and slouchy sweater for the next 3 weeks, I would. It’s been pretty busy over here at General Hospital and the kids are even more busy! Basquiat is in Debbie Allen’s Hot Chocolate Nutcracker for the 4th year in a row, and Lestat is nursing a sprained wrist from Basketball while studying for freshman finals.
It’s the holidays. My favorite time of the year. While most people have taken to the malls, traffic, and parking nightmares, I have chosen to avoid it all until the very last minute….again.
I did manage to get the Christmas tree up and decorated. I had a vision of picking out a tree with the boys and a nice, young, strong, possibly good looking man strapping it to the top of our car. After looking at our calendar for work and after school activities, there was really only one slot of time for us to get a tree. And by us I mean ME. It was going to have to be at 8:30am last Friday morning. So I drive to the grocery store where they have a plethora of fresh cut trees. The price was right so I said, what the hell. A real tree it’s gonna be! I asked the nice employee how one would get a tree home and she explained that all I had to do was pick out the tree I wanted, rip off the tag, pay for it at the counter and someone would help get it into my car. Perfect! So that’s what I did. Well I got to the counter and asked where I should pull up my car for assistance and the gentleman chuckled to himself and said, “Well you are kind of out of luck this morning. There’s nobody to help except me and as you can see I have a long line behind you.” Not sure where all of these people came from at 8:30 in the morning but there I was. Ticket in hand, paid for tree, and about 15 mins left on my super tight timed out schedule to get to work. He said, “ I mean, you’re gonna have to wait and I’m not sure how long. You can pull the car around though and I’ll get out there as soon as I have no customers”. I said, “But that could take an hour right?”. He said, “yep.” So I proceeded to the parking lot, got into my car and pulled it up to the trees. I turned the car off. I waited. I took a deep breathe. I waited. I wondered what his response would be if I was a man. I waited. I wondered why I waited so long to get a tree in the first place. I waited. I wondered if I would have the energy to come back and pick it up in a few days….which would be the next available time I had, given our insane schedules…I waited. And then without even blinking an eye, I got outta my car, slammed the door and stood there in my knitted christmas leggings and slouchy sweater. I said screw this! He doesn't know who he's dealing with. I'm a freaking single mom. I can certainly handle this! Making my way through sharp needles I wedged myself in between the trees, grabbed the tree that I paid for and proceeded to drag this sucker to my car. I wasn't a weak little woman after all. I dragged this tree all the way to my car, opened the trunk, pushed the back seats down and shoved our tree in there. Totally solo. I’m sure there are branches missing. Scratching up everything including my face, hands and legs but whatever! It was in! Nobody helped. Nobody even batted an eyeball. I slammed the door shut and off I went. I’m doing Christmas for the kids at this point. Let’s just be honest. If it were up to me, I’d just as soon sit in front of our beautifully decorated tree, watch HBO, drink wine, and eat this killer mac n cheese. The gruyere is expensive but SO worth it!! Hope you enjoy. xo
1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cook the macaroni according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan to a simmer. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large pot and add the flour. Whisk over low heat for 2 minutes. 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, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish or individual ramekins.
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.