Updated 03/24/2012 05:00 AM
Recipe: Macaroni and Cheese with Sauteed Onion, Sage and Cheddar Cheese
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1-pound box elbow macaroni
3/4 cup diced onion
4 Tbs butter
4 Tbs chopped fresh sage
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 cup apple cider (see hints below)
3 cups milk
12-ounces grated cheddar cheese (see hints below)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Get a large pot of water going for cooking the 1-pound box of elbow macaroni and then use another large, heavy bottomed stainless steel pot to saute about 3/4 cup diced onion in 4 Tbs of butter to soften.
Add 3-4 Tbs chopped fresh sage at this point and, once the onions are nice and soft, sprinkle on 1/4 cup all-purpose flour. Stir it in and cook it along for a minute. Then, add 1 Tbs Dijon mustard and 1/2 cup apple cider.
Let that cook along for a minute or two top thicken up, and then add 3 cups of milk, whisk it together and bring it up to a simmer.
Just as it does come to a simmer, turn the heat down a little bit and gradually whisk in 12-ounces of grated cheddar cheese. As soon as all the cheese has melted in turn the heat off and season it with black pepper to taste.
At some point during this process, once the water has come to a boil, add the macaroni and get that going.
Drain the macaroni when it is done and toss it with the cheddar cheese sauce. Transfer it to a large casserole or 9 x 13-inch baking dish, sprinkle some breadcrumbs, that have been tossed with olive oil, over the top and pop it into the preheated oven.
That'll only take 15 - 20 minutes in the oven because everything is already hot to begin with.
Substitute white wine for the apple cider if you like, but either way, make sure it and the flour has thickened up before adding the milk.
Serve this alongside applesauce to help accent the apple cider in the recipe.
For a creamier, although less "real" version, try using 8-ounces of cheddar and 4 ounces of Velveeta.