Rosemary Onion Mac and Cheese
"I haven't met many people who didn't grow up eating boxed macaroni and cheese. Well, my fellow mac 'n' cheese lovers, this is the "adult" version (though it's rated g for all audiences to consume). Savory, sweet, and a tad smoky, it is my favorite dish of indulgence because it tastes like Christmas. Serve it with the Winter Berry Salad to complete the comforting holiday feel for your table on any day of the year. Oven-safe skillets are great for transferring dishes from your stove top to the oven, and this recipe is a perfect candidate for that cooking method, giving you golden topping perfection. I buy a prefaced piece of cornbread or corn muffins from my grocery store to save time. I recommend making this dish ahead of time and finishing it off in the oven just before you're ready to serve."
Reprinted with permission from The Modern Hippie Table by Lauren Thomas, The Collective Book Studio, October 2022. Photo credit by Kristy Horst.
12 oz large elbow macaroni pasta
1 cup crumbled cornbread
1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese, divided
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
3 tsp salt, divided
1 ½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups milk or plant-based milk
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 ½ cups shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp smoked paprika
Preheat the oven to 425°.
Bring a 4-quart pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain and rinse. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the cornbread crumbles, ½ cup of the Gruyère, the 2 tablespoons of melted butter, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and 1 teaspoon of the rosemary.
In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the vinegar, honey, and remaining ½ teaspoon of rosemary and cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Transfer the onion mixture to a bowl and set aside. Carefully wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, until golden and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high. Gradually add the milk, whisking frequently until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat and gradually stir in the cheddar, Parmesan, and remaining ½ cup of Gruyère. Stir in the dry mustard, pepper, smoked paprika, and remaining 2 ½ teaspoons of salt. The sauce will be thick.
Add the cooked pasta and onion mixture and stir until well mixed. Smooth into an even layer in the skillet. Top with the cornbread mixture.
Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown. Serve immediately.