Cats are finicky creatures. Have you ever done something stupid like save a few dollars buying a different brand of cat litter, only to end up having your cat pee all over your bed? Yeah, that was me cursing my stupidity as I recently bundled myself and my comforter down to the Laundromat. I brought my new Christmas present along with me, a copy of Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Family Style Cookbook, and a notepad in order to make my grocery list. During the wash cycle, I was busy setting the week's menu and making my list, and when I popped the comforter in the dryer, I knew I had just enough time to make it to the grocery store and back before it was done. Did I end up saving money with the new cat litter? Unfortunately, I think by the time the laundry was done, I finished $10.00 in the hole. Why must I learn the hard way? The good news is that now our cat is finally using the litter box again, and I made a yummy macaroni and cheese with tomatoes inspired by my trip to the laundromat. Nice kitty...
Macaroni and Cheese inspired by Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Family Style Cookbook
1 lb. elbow macaroni
1 qt. 1% milk
8 Tbls. (one stick--that's right baby) unsalted butter, divided into 8 pieces
1/2 c. all purpose flour
6 c. grated cheese (I mixed 2 c. mozzarella, 2 c. medium cheddar, and 2 c. Swiss)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
four small Roma tomatoes, sliced
1 1/2 c. white bread crumbs
1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, drizzle in a little vegetable oil, and add your macaroni. Cook until al dente (about 6 minutes). Drain and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a saucepan but do not boil it. Melt 8 Tbls. butter in a large pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes stirring continuously with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk a little at a time, whisking well between each addition.
4. Off of the heat, add the grated cheeses, 1 Tbls. salt, the pepper, and the nutmeg. Stir gently, wait 2 minutes and stir gently again. Add the hot, cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour mixture into a 3 quart baking dish.
5. Arrange the sliced tomatoes on top of the dish. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on top.