Gruyere Mac and Cheese with Caramelized Onions.
Welcome to what heaven looks like.
(And tastes like. Totally.)
If there was ever a perfect way to welcome in October, this is it. OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS. This freaking mac and cheese. Holy cow. It is delicious, full of flavor, classic enough that you can serve it to a crowd but unique enough that you won’t get bored and the recipe is pure perfection.
This mac and cheese comes from Molly’s new book Molly on the Range. Let’s just take a second to talk about how absolutely awesome Molly is. She makes fabulous food. She is the queen of funfetti. Her photos always tell the perfect story and they are warm and welcoming and wonderful.
She’s HILARIOUS. I read the intro of the book a few weeks ago and was laughing out loud. The story of how she met her husband and their first kiss had me in stitches. She is such an excellent writer which makes me love the food she is writing about so much more.
One thing I really admire about Molly (and this book!) is that anytime I visit her blog, I almost always learn something new about food. Her recipes are so full of culture, but not it an intimidating or snobby way. In the most relatable, oh-my-god-I’m-trying-that-right-now sort of way. She is solely responsible the unreasonable amount of tahini that I have bought this year.
And because of all that, I have to tell you that this is not only one of the best best best cookbooks I’ve got in 2016 but maybe one of the best cookbooks ever. If you are like me and enjoy reading cookbooks like novels – no, really, like if you prop yourself up in a bed with a huge stack of cookbooks which are inevitably hardback making for an awkward and uncomfortable situation IN BED, you’ll be in heaven.
I pretty much want to make every recipe in the book.
But anyhoo! Enough rambling.
I think I’ve found the new base for my mac and cheese recipes for the rest of my life. This recipe is foolproof and so decadently creamy. I’ve had a fond spot for gruyere ever since my mom used to make us fondue when I was a kid (from her college fondue pot in the ‘70s, no less) and it’s almost always a staple in my mac and cheese recipes.
However. I never just let it shine. By itself. You know?
And now that I have, I may not ever be able to use other cheese again. Swiss cheese freaks, unite. And grab some very large spoons.
This dish has every single component that my heart and brain and face require in a mac and cheese. Creamy. Flavorful. A little nutty. Something extra. Crunchy topping. Life = complete.
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
- kosher salt
- 8 ounces whole wheat elbow noodles
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 6 ounces gruyere cheese, freshly grated
- 4 ounces swiss cheese, freshly grated
- 2 ounces parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 inch baking dish.
- In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are golden and caramely, about 40 minutes.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the directions, reducing the cook time by 1 minute. Drain and set aside.
- In a large pot, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the flour, whisking until combined to create a roux. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until it’s golden and fragrant. Slowly pour in half the milk, whisking constantly so they mixture can thicken, about 5 minutes. Slowly pour in the other half of the milk and whisk until thickened. Reduce the heat to low and add the gruyere and swiss and all but 2 tablespoons of the parmesan. Stir with a large wooden spoon until the cheese melts. Stir in the paprika, cayenne, nutmeg, mustard and any salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cooked pasta and the onions.
- Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and top with the panko crumbs and remaining parmesan. Bake until the top is golden and crunchy, about 25 minutes. Cook for a few minutes before serving.
The cheese strings though!