Apple and Cheddar Penne Pie


Everyone knows NY apples and cheddar make a terrific snack. But add in some pasta and you’ve got a meal! This inventive penne pie is crispy and creamy like a homemade mac and cheese, while combining the sweet and savory flavors that make apples and cheddar such a hit. A splash of cider in the cheese sauce makes New York’s unmistakable apple flavor shine.


  • 2 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
  • 1 Tbsp. snipped fresh thyme
  • 12 oz. uncooked penne pasta
  • 2 cups (3 medium) NY apples, peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup chopped sweet onion
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1½ cups shredded white cheddar cheese
  • Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch springform pan with 1 tablespoon of the softened butter. Sprinkle sides of pan with 1/3 cup of the panko to coat; set aside. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon softened butter. Stir the remaining 1/3 cup panko and 1 teaspoon thyme into melted butter; set aside.
  2. Cook pasta 2 minutes less than instructed by package directions; drain. Return pasta to pan; set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, cook NY apples and onion in the 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes or until tender. Add flour, salt and pepper to saucepan. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in milk and apple cider. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low. Add cheeses and remaining 2 teaspoons thyme; stir until cheese melts.
  4. Add sauce mixture to pasta; stir to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle with reserved panko mixture.
  5. Bake, uncovered, about 40 minutes or until edges are bubbly. Let stand on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove sides of pan. Using a serrated knife, cut pie into eight wedges. If desired, top with fresh thyme sprigs.