White Cheddar Mac and Cheese with Caramelized Onion and Apple

Fall is officially here! I love seeing a wide variety of apples and squash at the market and it always get my mind spinning, trying to think of new ways to use them. While often used in sweet recipes, the sweet/tart flavor of an apple blends really well with sharp cheeses (like cheddar). This is a very rich dish, so I recommend serving it with a leafy green salad drizzled with a light vinaigrette.

  1. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add apple and onion and cook until they both start to brown, stirring often. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.

2. Reduce heat to medium and add milk, cream, Dijon, hot sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Bring milk mixture to a simmer, then add the cheese and stir until melted.

3. Preheat broiler. Add cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Transfer pasta to a baking dish. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and combine with the breadcrumbs. Spread on top of the pasta and broil for 1-2 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crunchy (watch carefully).

4. Heat a thin layer of vegetable oil in a skillet over high heat. Fry shallots until brown; remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.

5. Scoop mac and cheese onto serving plates and garnish with crispy shallots. For extra bite/saltiness, sprinkle with blue cheese.

White Cheddar Mac and Cheese with Caramelized Onion and Apple

Serves 4-6

All you need:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 small apple, diced

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

1 cup cream

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese

8 oz. bowtie pasta, cooked and drained

Vegetable oil, for frying

2 shallots, sliced thin

Crumbled blue cheese, for garnish (optional)

All you do:

  1. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add apple and onion and cook until they both start to brown, stirring often. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add milk, cream, Dijon, hot sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Bring milk mixture to a simmer, then add the cheese and stir until melted.
  3. Preheat broiler. Add cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Transfer pasta to a baking dish. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and combine with the breadcrumbs. Spread on top of the pasta and broil for 1-2 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crunchy (watch carefully).
  4. Heat a thin layer of vegetable oil in a skillet over high heat. Fry shallots until brown; remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.
  5. Scoop mac and cheese onto serving plates and garnish with crispy shallots. For extra bite/saltiness, sprinkle with blue cheese.
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