Probably exactly what you need, right after the new year starts, is a recipe that combines two of the most wonderful, cheese and carb-laden treats known to humankind into one unholy meal.
Well, I can say that at least around here, “losing x pounds” didn’t make it to the resolutions list this year. #pregnancyperks
I won’t lie to you: this recipe takes a while (about 2.5 full hours, from start to finish). BUT, it’s worth it. And not just if you’re pregnant. So let’s get to it.
French Onion Mac + Cheese
for the bechamel
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk (or cream, if you’re into that sort of thing)
- salt & pepper
- crushed reds
- 2 cups grated Gruyere
- 1/2 cup sharp cheddar
for the onion mixture
- butter/olive oil
- 3 large yellow onions, sliced
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
- a dash of honey
- salt & pepper
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups beef stock (to make this veggie, obviously, just use veggie stock instead.)
- 12 sprigs fresh thyme (you might want to tie these up into a bundle)
- 1 bag arugula
- 1 box pasta (I used cavatappi, which winds its way so delightfully around each onion slice, each delightful bite of cheese)
for the topping
- about 1/2 cup panko
- about 1/2 cup parmesan
- (a little parsley, if you have it, would be nice right at the very end)
- Start your onions, which take the longest. Heat a bit of butter and olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add onions, cover, and cook down, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes.
- While the onions are going, start your bechamel. Over low heat, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan; add flour and stir constantly to combine for 2-3 minutes. Increase heat to medium, and slowly add the milk or cream; stir until thickened (this takes about 5-6 minutes; add more flour if you need). Lower the heat, & season with s+p and the crushed red peppers. Fold in the gruyere and cheddar until the sauce is melty and delicious – set aside and try not to eat.
- To the onion mixture, add garlic and dash honey. Cook another 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions start to caramelize. Add wine and beef broth and stir, scraping up the bottom bits. Add the thyme and let the mixture cook down, until the liquid is almost gone.
- The previous step will take a while, so this is is a good time to start your pasta water boiling and to cook according to directions. Drain and set aside when done.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a baking pan. In the onion pot, mix together the arugula, pasta, onions, and bechamel. Make sure it’s thoroughly combined before you pour into the baking pan – snag the bundled thyme as you do so.
- In a small bowl, toss together the panko and parmessan, and then spread this over the top of the pasta/onion mixture. Pop the whole thing into the oven for 35 minutes.
You can taste how long this takes to make (in a good way, I promise). It’s got serious flavor, from first bite to finish. It’s two of the best meals ever, on one plate – how could you not love it? Just make sure to serve with a side salad – you’ll want something a little…lighter.