RECIPE

French Onion Mac ‘n Cheese

Your favorite classic soup is now a sensational mac ‘n cheese meal!

Ingredients

For the crispy topping:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin oil (EVOO)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

For the onions:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin oil (EVOO)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • 1 can beef consommé (10 ounces)

For the cheese sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 rounded tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1 pound short cut pasta of choice, such as penne rigate or cavatappi

Preparation

For the topping, heat the EVOO and butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir for 2-3 minutes, then add the panko and stir to combine and lightly toast, 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add in the herbs and cheese.


For the onions, heat the EVOO and butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and bay leaves, salt and pepper and caramelize, 25-30 minutes. Deglaze with sherry or wine and add the consommé. Keep warm over low heat.


Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta and pre-heat the oven to 400°F.


For the cheese sauce, melt the butter in medium size saucepot over medium to medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour, cook for 1 minute, then add the milk. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg and thicken to coat a spoon. Add the Gruyère, stirring in a figure-eight motion, and melt it into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low.


Undercook the pasta by a minute or so, then drain it and return it to the pot. Combine the pasta with the onions and cheese sauce, then transfer to a casserole dish. Top with the breadcrumb mixture and bake until golden, 20-25 minutes. Serve with spinach salad or shaved raw asparagus salad alongside.

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