Bekah’s mom made this recipe from barefoot contessa for thanksgiving in 2021. The unique feature is that the mac and cheese sits overnight so the pasta absorbs more of the cheese flavors.


  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni or cavatappi
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere, divided
  • 1 cup grated sharp white Cheddar, such as Cabot, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter, plus extra for the dish
  • 1½ cups fine white bread crumbs
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper


  1. Twenty-four hours before you plan to serve the gratin, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons salt and the macaroni and cook for 4 minutes.
  3. Drain and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium (10-inch) bowl, combine the cream, nutmeg, 1 cup of the Gruyere, ½ cup of the Cheddar, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
  5. When the pasta is done, stir it into the cream mixture, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a full 24 hours. The pasta will absorb the cream and expand.
  6. When ready to cook, allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for about an hour or if in a hurry, microwave it for 4 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).
  8. Butter a 2-quart gratin dish, transfer the mixture to the dish and spread it evenly.
  9. Combine the remaining 1 cup Gruyere and ½ cup Cheddar and sprinkle it evenly on top.
  10. Combine the bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons butter and sprinkle evenly on top.
  11. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating halfway through, until golden brown and crusty. Serve hot.