Wednesday, September 1, 2010

French-Fried Onion Mac and Cheese

I've been wanting to try this particular mac and cheese topping for a while, but I'm typically a mac and cheese purist. You either put breadcrumbs or cheese on top and broil it until it's crispy. Crunched up French-fried onions on mac and cheese? Perish the thought! Except I couldn't. I had some kind of unholy desire to try it and I'm really glad I did. Having more than one variation on a recipe in your repertoire can never be a bad thing and this one was so good! Crunchy and oniony and yummy, but it does take over the flavor of the dish a little bit. So, while this is one I will definitely make again, I will have to be in the mood for the oniony-ness in addition to the typical cheesy goodness of mac.

French-Fried Onion Mac and Cheese
*Mac and cheese recipe adapted from the Pioneer Woman

1 pound pasta, cooked to not quite al dente
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 cups milk
2 teaspoons ground mustard
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups sharp cheddar, grated
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese (because I had it on hand and needed to use it!)
1 package French-fried onions, crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta to just under al dente. It will finish cooking in the oven.

Melt butter in a large skillet. Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes until it deepens in color.

Pour in milk, whisking constantly. Add mustard, salt, and pepper.

Continue cooking until it thickens, 4-6 minutes. Add cheese and stir until melted.

Check the seasonings of the cheese sauce and add more salt if needed. Add some cayenne if you'd like a little kick too. Pour pasta into a greased baking dish. Add cheese sauce and stir to coat.

Top with crushed French-fried onions.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is browned and crispy. Enjoy!

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