Monday, January 27, 2014

French onion macaroni and cheese


This is some serious comfort food - cheesy, creamy, and buttery. The flavors of French onion soup wrapped up in some noodles and extra cheese. I've seen some similar recipes floating around on the internet for a while now and have been itching to make this mac n' cheese. I wanted to incorporate as many flavors from French onion soup as I could, but I also wanted to keep this meal vegetarian - so I didn't use any beef broth. It turned out pretty amazing. The super sweet onion intertwined with the cheesy pasta was perfect. I used Gruyere cheese, but I combined it with sharp white cheddar so that it was not over powering (and affordable -- Gruyere is pretty pricy and pungent). Thyme, vermouth, and buttery breadcrumbs pulled in a lot of the soup flavors I was looking for in the dish. The result was a decadent pasta dish that we thoroughly enjoyed. This recipe will feed 4 to 6 people as a main dish (feel free to make a nice green salad for the side) or make some delicious lunch leftovers.


French onion macaroni and cheese
1 lb. short-cut pasta of your choice
unsalted butter and extra virgin olive oil
4 medium-large sweet yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dried thyme, divided
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons dry vermouth, or other dry white wine
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 garlic clove, minced
2-1/2 cups milk
4 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated and divided
4 oz. extra sharp white cheddar cheese

In a cast-iron or other large oven-safe skillet, warm 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring only occasionally, until the onions are caramelized, about 30 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon of thyme, a good pinch of salt, a couple grinds of black pepper. Then stir in the vermouth and deglaze the pan. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta until just under al dente. Then drain.

Melt 1-1/2 tablespoons of butter and place in a small bowl. Toss with the breadcrumbs and set aside.

In a medium pot, warm 2 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant. Whisk in the milk. Cook over medium heat stirring often until the milk thickens. Remove from the heat and whisk in half of the Gruyere and all of the cheddar until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove about 1/3 of the onions form the skillet and set them aside in a bowl. Toss the pasta in the skillet with the remaining onions. Then stir in the sauce until well combined. Top with breadcrumbs, reserved cheese, 1 teaspoon of thyme, and the remaining onion.

Bake until golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Serve hot.


What was I cooking one year ago?: barbeque chicken and cornbread pie
Two years ago?: pistachio-orange-cardamom shortbread bars
Three?: Chicken braised with Meyer lemons, fennel, and olives
4?: Tom Kha Gai (Thai chicken and coconut soup)

21 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh…drooling. This cold weather is making me crave warm comfort foods like this. I love the white cheddar/Gruyere/caramelized onion combo!

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  2. Oh heavens, this sounds SO decadent and amazing. I'm swooning over here!

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  3. Dear Amy, Mac and cheese is a favorite comfort food. I like this version. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

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  4. French onion with macaroni sounds delicious!

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  5. What a nice twist to the macaroni and cheese...sounds and looks delicious Amy.
    Have a wonderful week ahead :D

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  6. Onion and cheese...ain't they the best friends!? Your mac and cheese bake looks terrific, Amy.
    Have a wonderful day!
    Angie

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  7. Mac and Cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods and I love French Onion. Great recipe Amy!

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  8. I think you are after my daughter's heart. She loves French onion soup and mac and cheese. She will be thrilled!

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  9. That is a serious macaroni & cheese recipe. I was actually thinking this afternoon of making a macaroni & cheese with bacon but this looks much more appetising.

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  10. This is some serious M and C! What a fun way to change it up a bit! Take care, BAM

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  11. What a great twist on the classic! Bet it tasted great!

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  12. Great idea for the mac n cheese lover, I do love French onion soup, so I'm sure I would enjoy this pasta.

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  13. My family loves mac and cheese, I like you changed it up a bit. Sounds yummy.

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  14. I love, love french soup and it was such a great idea to combine two very hearty and comforting meals in one!

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  15. What two great foods to bring together! Great idea.

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  16. Wow, simply delicious!!!
    i guess i'll lovin the caramelized wett onion on my mac and cheese!!!

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  17. WHAT. You evil genius, this needs to be in my belly right now! Love mac and cheese, and LOVE the flavor twist!

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  18. This looks so great! Who doesn't like mac 'n cheese, and this is an interesting new twist. Really good stuff - thanks.

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  19. I'm a mac and cheese lover, my husband is a onion lover, this will make us all happy!

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  20. Oh I really do need to make this! It looks delicious and the mix of french onion and mac&cheese sounds wonderful!

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  21. I love this twist on mac & cheese! Super, super delicious and so decadent Amy! I'll take this over a bowl of soup any time.

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