Apple Mac and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese levels up in this creamy and craveable dish.
- 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
- 1 1/2 medium red, sweet apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 cup whole or 2% milk
- 1 cup half-and-half creamer
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup grated mild cheddar cheese
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Lemon juice
- Sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 3 Tablespoons extra unsalted butter
- Use some of the extra butter to rub on the inside bottom and sides of the glass casserole dish and set it aside.
- Fill a large pot with 4 quarts of water, add a tablespoon olive oil and dash of salt to the water, then set the heat to medium-high. Wait for the water to heat to a rolling boil. Once the water is boiling, add the uncooked macaroni to it. Cook the past about 7 minutes until they’re al dente. Place the colander in a sink. Drain the macaroni in the colander, tossing it to ensure all water is out from inside all the pasta. Dump the drained pasta into a large bowl and set aside.
- Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Peel and core the apples and cut them into wedges about 1/4 inch thick at the widest part. Place the wedges into the small bowl and sprinkle some of the lemon juice over them. Add the sugar and spices to the apple wedges and toss them thoroughly to coat. Set them aside.
- Make sure the flour, milk, and half-and-half are measured out, and are readily available for the next steps.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the medium saucepan on low heat. Slowly add the flour in, stirring the mixture constantly until it’s smooth. Gradually stir in the milk and the half-and-half. Continue to cook this mixture, stirring it constantly, until it boils and thickens. This should only take about 2 minutes.
- Remove the sauce from the heat, then add the cheeses in, reserve 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar to sprinkle on the top. Stir this mixture gently until all the cheese is melted and the overall sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- In the large mixing bowl, toss the seasoned apple wedges in with the cooked macaroni. Fold the cheese sauce into the mixture of macaroni and apples, continuing a gentle folding until all the pasta and apples are covered. Pour the entire mixture into the buttered glass dish. Top the mixture with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese and dot it all by cutting about 2 tablespoons of the extra butter into little pieces and placing them on top of the mixture.
- Bake the completed dish uncovered in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes until the top cheese is melted and is a golden brown. Pull it out of the oven and let it stand 5 minutes so the cheese will finish setting.