Macaroni Monday

What better treat to have on a rainy Monday than a saucy, gooey pot of Mac n Cheese?

This recipe is from Mac & Cheese – 80 Classic & Creative Version of the Ultimate Comfort Food.

One substitution made, noted below.

sweet onion mac n cheese 1

Sweet Onion Mac & Cheese

1/2 lb orecchiette
1 tblsp olive oil
1 c canola oil, divided
1/2 c (1 stick) unslated butter, divided
1 lrg sweet onion (Vidalia or Maui), diced
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/3 c all-purpose flour
2 c whole milk, warmed – I used 2%
2 oz Fontina, grated
3 tblsp freshly grated Parmesan
2 oz sharp white cheddar, grated
1 lrg shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 c rice flour (substitute cornstarch)
1 tsp snipped fresh chives
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Cook the pasta until al dente.  Drain the pasta, run it under cold water, and return it to the pot.  Toss the pasta with the olive oil.

Heat 1 tblsp of the canola oil and 2 tblsp of the butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, and toss to coat with the fat.  Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook the onion for 5 minutes.  Raise the heat to medium-high, sprinkle the onion with salt and pepper and cook, uncovered for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the onion is golden brown.  Puree the onion in a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in a blender, and set aside.

Heat the remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat.  Stir in the flour and cook stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, or until the mixture turns slightly beige, is bubbly and appears to have grown in volume.  Increase the heat to medium, and slowly whisk in the warm milk.  Bring to a boil, whisking frequently.  Reduce the heat to low, and simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until it thickens.

Add the cheese to the sauce by 1/2 c measures, stirring until the cheese melts before making another addition.  Stir in the onion puree, and season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

While the sauce simmers, heat the remaining canola oil in a small saucepan to a temperature of 350 degrees.  Coat the shallot slices with the rice flour, shaking off any excess.  Fry the shallot slices for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove the shallots from the oil with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels.

To serve, stir the sauce, chives and parsley into the pasta.  Cook over low heat until the pasta is hot and coated with the sauce.  serve immediately, garnishing each serving with some of the fried shallots.

Note:  The sauce can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated.  Bring it to a simmer over low heat.  The pasta should not be cooked and the shallots should not be fried until just prior to serving.

sweet onion mac n cheese 2

cartoon-strawberry-9I liked the sweetness the onion added to this sauce.  But I hate using orecchiette pasta, it always clumps together in lines of six or seven pieces of pasta.  And this was enough sauce for a full pound of pasta.  I would use rotini in the future.  And as you can see, I didn’t fry up the shallots.  We were hungry and I didn’t feel like making the mess.  Next time for sure.

ps – Trying photograph all white food?  Super boring.