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Oh-So-Creamy Macaroni & Three Cheeses with Caramelized Sweet Onions Recipe

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This recipe for Oh-So-Creamy Macaroni & Three Cheeses with Caramelized Sweet Onions, by , is from Smith-Bushong Family Cookbook Project, one of the cookbooks created at FamilyCookbookProject.com. We'll help you start your own personal cookbook! It's easy and fun. Click here to start your own cookbook!

Contributor:  
Contributor:  
Pam Holzman

Category:
Category:

Ingredients:  
Ingredients:  
3/4 C (6 T) unsalted butter (salted butter works fine)
2 (1) sweet onion, thinly sliced
kosher salt
16 (8) oz pasta (see notes)
1/2 (1/4) C all-purpose flour
5 (2 1/2) C whole milk
12 (6) oz Smoked Gruyere cheese, freshly grated
8 (4) oz Appenzeller Swiss cheese, freshly grated
4 (2) oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
2 (1) t smoked paprika (you can be generous with this)
1 (1/2) t freshly ground nutmeg (I don't have fresh nutmeg...ever, and I don't like it much, so I leave it out)4
4 (2) t Dijon mustard
1 (1/2) C panko breadcrumbs
(Tiny chunk of bacon fat rubbed on the hot pan for caramelizing onions)
4 (2) T fresh basil (optional)

Directions:
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter (or rub well with bacon fat) a 9x13x2 (8x8x2) inch baking dish--it will be very full!.


In a large skillet, melt 4 (2) T of the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are golden and caramely, about 40 minutes.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the directions, reducing the cook time by 1 minute, (according to some, that will make mushy macaroni--these folks say to cook it 1/3 the recommended time--it will still be crunchy, but I've never done this). Drain, butter lightly, and set aside.

In a large pot, melt the remaining 8 (4) T butter over medium-high heat (I like to very lightly brown the butter at this point (it will continue to brown as you make your roux. Grandma liked to lightly brown her flour before adding it to the butter. Add the flour, whisking until combined to create a roux. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until it's golden and fragrant. SLOWLY pour in half the milk, whisking constantly so the mixture can thicken, about 5 minutes. Slowly pour in the other half of the milk and whisk until thickened. Reduce the heat to low and add the Smoked Gruyere and Appenzeller and all but 4 (2) tablespoons of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir with a large wooden spoon until the cheese melts. Stir in the spice, the mustard, plus salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Stir in the partially cooked pasta, and the beautiful qonions.

Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and top with the panko crumbs and remaining parmesan (I like to put it all in a bag and shake it up together). Bake until the top is golden and crunchy, about 25 minutes. If serving will be delayed, you may want to take it out at a very light golden brown, then pop it back into the oven to cook for a few minutes, intensifying the golden brown color, the temperature, and ah! the fragrance...

Number Of Servings:
Number Of Servings:
8-12 (4-6)
Preparation Time:
Preparation Time:
1 1/2 hours or a bit more
Personal Notes:
Personal Notes:
This is so good, you want to choose a pasta shape designed to hold the sauce, and it's a sophisticated dish, so why stick with ridged elbows? Try Campanelle/Gigli (bells/lilies), Cavatappi (corkscrews), Gemelli ("twins", ridged pasta, twisted together), Conchiglie (ridged shells), Pipette Rigate (ridged snail shells), Radiatore (radiators, ruffles and ridges), Rocchetti (Spool), Rotini (spirals, look for the ridged ones), or Ziti (tubes, look for...ridged ones). Cook the pasta about one third of the time the package calls for; it will still be crunchy, but it will finish cooking in the oven and not be mush. IF I FORGOT TO PUT BOTH MEASUREMENTS IN SOMEPLACE: the default is the smaller size, but I only ever make the larger size, it's just too good to be the small size, almost even if I'm cooking for one. It is labor intensive and freezes well, so why not?

 

 

 

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