The author and cook, Heather

Macaroni au Gratin

Poole's: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner

This is my absolute favorite macaroni and cheese, and it is surprisingly simple to make at home! The only down side is that it doesn't reheat well, and it's very, very rich, so make sure you only make about as much as you can eat right after you bake it.

This is a staple on the menu at Poole's Diner, and I think there would be a revolt if they ever tried to remove it.

This recipe is available online here (and lots of other places!):

Serving Size1/4 recipe
Carbohydrates33g (1g sugar, 2g fiber)


[00:00]: [Music]
[00:05]: hello and welcome to cooking the books
[00:06]: with heather
[00:07]: today we are going to be making what's
[00:10]: on my shirt
[00:11]: um we're going to be making the macaroni
[00:14]: agroton macaroni or gratin whatever you
[00:17]: want us however you don't say it
[00:18]: from the pool's diner cookbook by ashley
[00:20]: christensen this
[00:21]: is one of the things that she almost
[00:24]: always i don't think i've ever not
[00:26]: seen it at the restaurant she almost
[00:28]: always has it at the restaurant
[00:30]: beautiful two-page spread it comes to
[00:34]: your table
[00:34]: in a dish like this super brown
[00:38]: cheese on top it is
[00:41]: really my favorite mac and cheese i'm
[00:44]: not a huge mac and cheese person
[00:46]: i'll eat it it's fine but i love
[00:50]: this mac and cheese of course my kids
[00:53]: not super fans but whatever so
[00:56]: we're gonna go ahead and make this um
[00:59]: it's really simple
[01:00]: honestly you don't have to make a
[01:02]: bechamel there's no flour it is
[01:04]: the ingredients here i have some
[01:06]: macaroni that i've already
[01:07]: weighed out i have some white
[01:11]: cheddar i have a sharp white cheddar i
[01:14]: have
[01:15]: um some jarlsberg cheese which is kind
[01:19]: of
[01:19]: a swiss like i think it's got holes in
[01:22]: it
[01:23]: and i've got some grana padano not
[01:26]: exactly this is american grana
[01:28]: which is uh basically a um
[01:32]: she's now look i watched a video of
[01:34]: ashley christensen making this
[01:36]: earlier today just to be sure i knew
[01:39]: what i was getting myself into see how
[01:40]: long it was going to take it shouldn't
[01:41]: take that long
[01:42]: um she said it was a young
[01:46]: parmesan this says it is extra aged
[01:49]: parmesan
[01:50]: whatever it's like a parmesan cheese if
[01:53]: you can't find this
[01:54]: she says parmesan is fine
[01:57]: you can probably use different cheeses
[02:00]: whatever but these ingredients
[02:02]: some sea salt and cream
[02:05]: and that's it that's all that is in this
[02:09]: dish
[02:10]: so what i'm gonna do is i'm going to
[02:13]: weigh out the cheeses and shred them
[02:16]: with this
[02:17]: they do get all mixed together so you
[02:20]: don't have to keep them separate or
[02:21]: anything so i'm just going to weigh them
[02:23]: and shred them together and then mix
[02:24]: them all up together
[02:28]: and then we're going to go cook our
[02:31]: pasta
[02:33]: and then we're going to sort of put it
[02:34]: all together so uh right now i'm just
[02:37]: going to be
[02:38]: measuring and shredding my cheese using
[02:39]: the food processor she says they did it
[02:41]: on a box grater before
[02:43]: the very beginning of the restaurant but
[02:44]: they moved to using a food processor and
[02:47]: i decided that that was a good idea so
[02:51]: get all my cheese grated and i'll see
[02:52]: you at the stove
[02:56]: uh so i'm gonna prepare for later by
[02:59]: just sort of mixing this up together
[03:01]: i don't know which cheese is which since
[03:03]: they're all white just kind of mixing
[03:05]: this up with my hands
[03:06]: and then we need to put we need to
[03:10]: separate this
[03:10]: sort of 40 percent goes into the sauce
[03:13]: and the rest goes on top so it's a lot
[03:15]: of cheese and that
[03:16]: lovely crust um
[03:19]: so i'm just going to put what seems like
[03:23]: about 40
[03:24]: and that should be i mean i i have the
[03:26]: measurements so i know what it should be
[03:28]: i gave a little bit of
[03:29]: extra cheese total so
[03:33]: this is what's going to go in our sauce
[03:34]: and we're going to keep this to put on
[03:36]: top
[03:36]: before we put it under the broiler at
[03:39]: the end
[03:40]: i do want to say this is one of those
[03:43]: recipes that i have made previously
[03:45]: probably more than once because i do
[03:47]: love it so much and we have had this
[03:50]: at the um at the restaurant before so
[03:53]: i do know what this is supposed to taste
[03:55]: like and what it you know how she serves
[03:57]: it and everything like that so
[03:59]: um yeah meet us back at the stove
[04:02]: so i've brought she has a specific
[04:04]: amount of water and a specific amount of
[04:06]: kosher salt so i use
[04:08]: this stuff um
[04:11]: because it's the stuff that i don't care
[04:12]: so much about um
[04:14]: for water whatever i have diamond
[04:17]: crystal that i use for kosher salt
[04:19]: when i care because the saltiness the
[04:23]: density basically of the salt differs
[04:24]: between these two
[04:26]: so anyway i have a specific amount of
[04:29]: salt a specific
[04:30]: amount of water in this saucepan
[04:33]: bringing it to a boil
[04:34]: it was almost to a boil before i just
[04:36]: turned it down so it didn't
[04:38]: go all over the place it's a little
[04:40]: small
[04:42]: but i think we'll be okay um
[04:45]: so as soon as this boils we're gonna put
[04:47]: the
[04:48]: macaroni in here i didn't buy any
[04:50]: special macaroni it's like the store
[04:52]: brand
[04:52]: regular elbow macaroni
[04:56]: and but you only want to cook this to al
[04:59]: dente because it is going to cook more
[05:01]: in the sauce and then in the oven
[05:04]: so you don't want it to be mushy at the
[05:07]: end
[05:08]: so she says they cook it for five
[05:09]: minutes i'll check it at five minutes
[05:12]: that seems like it'll be pretty al dente
[05:16]: to me
[05:17]: a little too but
[05:20]: we'll see i might just follow the
[05:23]: directions entirely correctly
[05:24]: this time and see how it goes this is
[05:27]: boiling now in fact i'm gonna turn it
[05:29]: down a little bit it's good boil
[05:31]: i'm gonna go ahead and drop in my
[05:33]: macaroni
[05:36]: and i'm gonna stir it a little bit
[05:41]: i'm going to set a timer for five
[05:43]: minutes
[05:50]: we'll check it at five minutes all right
[05:52]: this has been five minutes
[05:54]: so it just still looks like dry pasta to
[05:58]: me
[05:59]: i'm gonna give it a couple more it is
[06:02]: way too al dente that is not al dente
[06:04]: that is raw
[06:06]: so i'm gonna give it a couple more
[06:07]: minutes check it again
[06:11]: i think it's been another six minutes so
[06:14]: about 11 minutes and it's definitely
[06:16]: um al dente almo done like i like so i'm
[06:19]: gonna go
[06:20]: um strain this and be right back
[06:26]: okay so now we're going to put this out
[06:29]: on a baking sheet
[06:34]: to come to room temperature but we're
[06:37]: also going to put a
[06:38]: little bit of just neutral vegetable oil
[06:42]: on it
[06:43]: to keep it from sticking to itself
[06:48]: i'm going to measure it as per the
[06:50]: recipe
[06:54]: and then i'm going to stir it around
[06:56]: with my spoon just to get it
[07:02]: coated and then we let this come to room
[07:06]: temperature
[07:10]: so we're just going to leave this
[07:14]: on the baking sheet on the counter
[07:17]: and it should come to room temperature
[07:18]: relatively quickly so
[07:21]: the next step this is exactly the kind
[07:22]: of pan that she used in the
[07:25]: um in the video segment i saw she has a
[07:28]: large deep saucepan
[07:30]: i have the salt that i've measured out
[07:32]: sea salt
[07:34]: and then the cream for the recipe
[07:38]: i just i just didn't want to dirty
[07:40]: another
[07:41]: measuring spoon because after i used oil
[07:45]: i couldn't put
[07:46]: salt in it reliably so i measured the
[07:48]: salt out first
[07:50]: anyway so i've got cream here
[07:53]: with the salt and we're going to bring
[07:55]: this to a boil
[07:58]: all right so it's boiling and we're
[08:01]: gonna sort of let it come back to a
[08:03]: simmer
[08:04]: said it would foam up and then come to a
[08:06]: simmer which is fine
[08:10]: and we're gonna simmer it for like two
[08:11]: minutes
[08:13]: so now i'm it's been simmering for about
[08:16]: two minutes
[08:18]: and i'm gonna um
[08:22]: put all of the noodles in here now
[08:39]: okay
[08:48]: so now we're going to stir these into
[08:49]: the cream and let it cook for about
[08:52]: 90 seconds um
[08:55]: just to let the cream thicken up a
[08:57]: little bit more and warm up the noodles
[09:03]: okay so now we slowly add the 40
[09:07]: of the cheese that we had separated from
[09:10]: the rest
[09:11]: and stir it in so it melts
[09:16]: sort of a small handful at a time she
[09:21]: says
[09:26]: so that is it for this part um
[09:30]: she says to use a two and a half quart
[09:33]: sauce pan like wide pan kind of like
[09:36]: this
[09:37]: or baking dish she usually puts it in a
[09:40]: relatively small baking dish probably
[09:43]: half of this at a time
[09:45]: [Music]
[09:47]: at the restaurant but this makes
[09:50]: like i said this makes enough for i
[09:52]: think
[09:55]: four to six people i forget
[09:58]: what it says anyway um so it makes
[10:01]: quite a bit in my opinion especially
[10:04]: since my kids won't eat it
[10:06]: um so i've got this it's a little bit
[10:09]: bigger
[10:10]: than she calls for but this is done now
[10:14]: and i'm going well done for this step so
[10:16]: i'm going to pour it into this dish
[10:18]: she does not say to butter it or
[10:20]: anything
[10:22]: but just pour it in
[10:25]: i probably could have done my smaller
[10:28]: one
[10:29]: but that was not quite two and a half
[10:31]: quarts so i just didn't want it to be
[10:34]: too overflowing
[10:38]: um it does come kind of overflowing at
[10:41]: the restaurant though so
[10:43]: oops so there we go and now
[10:48]: we put the rest of this cheese on top
[10:51]: all of it mounded up just cover the
[10:54]: whole thing
[11:02]: and at this point we've got something
[11:06]: else in our oven
[11:06]: but we're going to get that out and turn
[11:08]: the broiler on
[11:10]: because um the last step is to
[11:13]: broil this cheese on top until it is
[11:16]: crispy
[11:16]: and delicious so
[11:20]: be right back for that
[11:32]: on this episode of cooking the books
[11:33]: with heather you watched me make
[11:35]: the macaroni agroton gratin from um
[11:39]: the pool's diner cookbook now
[11:43]: we had four kids so two extras
[11:47]: um four with us for that
[11:50]: that meal and three of them
[11:54]: did not love it um my daughter actually
[11:58]: ate it and liked everything
[11:59]: except for the browned top which
[12:03]: by the way i didn't show you that part
[12:04]: we will put in the pictures probably
[12:06]: already have
[12:07]: of um what it looks like after you broil
[12:10]: it basically
[12:11]: i showed you you know with all the
[12:13]: cheese on top you put it in the broiler
[12:15]: and broil it until you think it's done
[12:16]: until it's very brown
[12:18]: and then that's it um so
[12:21]: that was one step we did not show you
[12:22]: because there's not much you can show in
[12:24]: the broiler
[12:25]: um anyway so she didn't like that
[12:29]: that part the
[12:32]: but she liked everything else the rest
[12:33]: of the kids did not
[12:35]: super enjoy this mac and cheese
[12:38]: so in my opinion it's kind of an adult
[12:40]: mac and cheese
[12:42]: every all the adults loved it it is
[12:45]: very rich and hard to eat a lot of
[12:48]: but it is delicious so we have recently
[12:51]: actually ordered the mac and cheese from
[12:53]: pool's diner for pickup for a sunday
[12:54]: brunch
[12:55]: and my husband said this was better than
[12:57]: the pickup version and i'm sure it was
[12:59]: you know
[13:00]: it this is a a dish that is best eaten
[13:04]: hot on the first day that you make it
[13:07]: it does not and i want to i want to
[13:11]: emphasize this it does not reheat well
[13:14]: because there's no stabilizers
[13:17]: it is a cream base it just does
[13:20]: not reheat well it separates and just
[13:24]: i mean it still tastes okay but it's not
[13:26]: the same
[13:27]: um the second time around so uh
[13:31]: if you don't have a lot of people eating
[13:32]: it you might want to just sort of do a
[13:34]: half recipe because like i said it's
[13:35]: very rich
[13:37]: but all that said it is
[13:41]: pretty much exactly like you get it from
[13:43]: the restaurant
[13:44]: it is delicious it is creamy it
[13:48]: and the for me the browned cheese bits
[13:51]: on the top
[13:52]: are the best part and this is the
[13:55]: easiest recipe i think
[13:57]: um the easiest actual finished product
[13:59]: recipe
[14:01]: in this book is probably this one
[14:03]: because i mean it's mac and cheese but
[14:05]: you don't even have to make a bechamel
[14:07]: you make the sauce with
[14:09]: the cream and just add some cheese and
[14:12]: then you put more cheese on top and
[14:14]: broil it i mean it's super easy anybody
[14:16]: can do this
[14:18]: um and i didn't even get like the best
[14:20]: kind best
[14:21]: types of cheese the best brands or
[14:23]: whatever i didn't go to whole foods or
[14:25]: anything i just was able to get
[14:26]: these things at my local stores and
[14:30]: it was still absolutely delicious
[14:33]: so this is something you should make at
[14:36]: home if you've been to pools diner and
[14:38]: you can't go right now or you can't get
[14:40]: things from there right now
[14:41]: make this recipe and if you haven't been
[14:45]: but you like mac and cheese and you love
[14:48]: a cheesy top a cheesy brown
[14:50]: top make this recipe
[14:54]: anybody can do it so if you enjoyed
[14:56]: watching me make this please
[14:59]: give me a thumbs up hit the subscribe
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[15:03]: something else next week
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[15:12]: please give me a thumbs up
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[15:16]: [Music]
[15:18]: [Laughter]
[15:22]: sippy