This French twist on macaroni and cheese is a holiday classic in my family that is usually served with beef bourguignon, homemade rolls, and a few too many glasses of red wine. Now that I’ve moved back into my Montreal apartment after a summer away from home, curling up with this cheesy treat is the perfect way to relax after class and let the nostalgia kick in.
The key ingredient is freshly grated nutmeg-it tones down the sharp gruyere cheese and adds a bit of sweetness. If possible, avoid buying generic nutmeg powder and splurge on real seeds and a grater.
5 oz. grated gruyere cheese
1 lb rigid penne pasta
1 ¼ cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 heaping tbsp. of flour
2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, or set your oven to broil.
2. Warm the milk and garlic cloves in a pan over high heat. Once the milk has reached a boil, take the pan off the stove, and cover the pan for fifteen minutes. Remove the garlic and reserve the milk.
3. Boil water and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.
4. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for one minute. Take the pan off of the heat and slowly whisk in the reserved milk. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
5. Return the pan to low heat, and continue to whisk the seasoned milk for five minutes, or until thick. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cream.
6. Combine the pasta with the white sauce in a large baking dish. Add the grated Gruyere cheese on top, and broil for 5-10 minutes, until golden brown.