This delicious gratin is flavored with sharp Gruyère and smoky lardons. It’s served at the restaurant in individual casseroles, but it looks best at home in a great big dish. This makes generous portions or highly prized leftovers.–Keith McNally
LC A Gratin That Waits For No One Note
Know how you often turn off the oven but leave the casserole inside to keep it warm while stragglers slowly make their way to the table? Best not to try that with this macaroni and cheese. The authors caution that overbaking this gratin can cause the sauce to “break,” meaning that the butterfat in the cheese will separate from the milk solids, resulting in the dread curdled-looking, greasy-feeling gratin. Maybe your stragglers will learn to move it—or to like cold mac-n-cheese.
Special Equipment: 10-by-14-inch gratin or baking dish
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 50 M
- Serves 6 to 8
- One 16-ounce package elbow macaroni
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 ounces lightly smoked bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 5 cups whole milk, preferably whole
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- 3 cups grated Gruyère cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Butter a 10-by-14-inch gratin or casserole dish.
- 2. Cook the macaroni according to the directions on the box. Drain, toss with the olive oil, and set aside in a large bowl.
- 3. Meanwhile, fry the bacon over medium heat until brown but not crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels and add to the cooked macaroni.
- 4. While the macaroni and bacon cook, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a very gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low to keep it warm. In another saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. When the foam subsides, remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the flour and continue to stir until a smooth, pale roux forms. Return the saucepan to medium heat and, still whisking steadily, begin ladling the hot milk into the roux, 1 cup at a time, waiting until one ladleful of milk is completely incorporated before adding the next. After all the milk has been added, continue to whisk until the sauce thickens and bubbles gently, about 2 minutes. Add the Parmesan, 2 cups of the Gruyère, and the salt and pepper, and stir until the cheese has completely melted.
- 5. Pour the sauce over the macaroni and bacon, mix thoroughly, and pour into the buttered dish. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of Gruyère over the gratin and continue to bake for 10 minutes more, until the top is golden and crunchy.